China’s independent refiners are quietly buying Russian oil at substantial discounts at a time when Western countries are considering an oil embargo due to Russia’s military operations in Ukraine.

An independent refinery in Shandong, eastern China, unofficially revealed dealings with Russian oil suppliers since Moscow’s operations in Ukraine began in order to escape US sanctions.

According to the official, some of them bought quotas for Russian crude oil that were given to the refinery by state-owned commodity trading organizations. The majority of state-owned trading enterprises have rejected to sign new supply contracts.

According to a media report, it was a means for certain importers to avoid regular routes to get inexpensive Russian oil, and it allowed Beijing to keep a low profile amid the West’s policy of escalating anti-Russian sanctions.

This comes as rumours surface of strengthening China-Russia connections in the aftermath of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as well as a wider schism between Beijing and the West.

Furthermore, China is willing to assist Russia in the face of Western sanctions imposed as a result of the invasion of Ukraine, but only to the degree that penalties are avoided and internal food security is not jeopardized.

Western countries have declared a slew of additional sanctions against Russia in response to Moscow’s special military operation in Ukraine, and Europe has begun to make pronouncements about the need to more aggressively reduce reliance on Russian energy resources. However, the United States actively supports the rejection of Russian oil and gas supplies, calling for alternative producers to enhance production.