Russia threatens consequences. The strait in the Baltic Sea is a new axis of contention with Moscow

Three days ago, the Politico website published information on how Western countries can control shipping through shadow navies. These are ships that formally fly under the flags of various countries, but Russia actually controls the cargo. In this way, the Kremlin bypasses Western sanctions and transports “banned” oil. Politico writes about West's new plan.

According to it, navigation through the strait near Denmark – Oresund, Great Belt, Fehmarn Belt, Little Belt – Units controlled by Russia will be banned. The reason would be their threat to the environment. Western companies also use the MARSUR system. It facilitates the exchange of information such as ship positions, identification data, and allows the sending of messages and images, which help identify ships.

Zakharova threatens consequences

Tighter control of the straits would be a more accurate blow to Putin's black gold trade. The threat of such a solution provokes a reaction from Russia. Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, commented on the latest publication during a conference broadcast on YouTube on Friday.

Passage of ships through the strait The Copenhagen Convention of 1857 and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea guarantee free passage to all ships through the strait. As he noted, any attempt to rewrite international law is unacceptable.

The Kremlin still makes billions from oil

In December 2023, the G7 countries announced stricter measures to limit compliance with the price ceiling for Russian oil. $60 per barrel. As we read, tightening economic sanctions introduced restrictions on shipping companies transporting raw materials from Russia. As a result, according to “Kommersant” notes, this led to the use of a “shadow fleet” to transport oil to Russia.

Russia tries to avoid oil price controls imposed by Western countries by using so-called “shadow fleets”, i.e. uninsured oil tankers with unknown ownership. As Bloomberg points out, thanks to this practice, Russia is able to sell oil above the $60 threshold. per barrel, and its monthly income from raw material exports is higher than it was before the start of the war in Ukraine.

Tankers of the “shadow fleet” are responsible for transporting approximately 45 percent. Russian hydrocarbons, a significant portion of which goes to Europe via Libya, constitute an $11 billion gray oil market.

However, expert Igor Yushkov, quoted by, estimates that the actual use of such vessels may be small, as they carry about 2.5 million barrels per day, a quarter of Russia's oil exports by sea. Yushkov also emphasizes that since the introduction of the price cap, Western companies have not transported Russian oil for fear of sanctions, so appeals to return this raw material to international carriers are meaningless.

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