According to official figures, the United Kingdom imported no fuel from Russia in June for the first time in history.
Imports from Russia fell to £33 million in June, the lowest level since records began in January 1997, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
The United Kingdom has pledged to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of the year and gas imports as soon as possible.
Fuel imports from Russia fell by £499 million, or 100%, compared to February’s previous year’s average.
According to the International Energy Agency, the UK imported approximately 4% of its gas and 11% of its oil from Russia in 2021.
Most goods exports to Russia had also dropped significantly by June, with sales of machinery and transport equipment falling by 91.3% to £118 million.
Overall, exports to Russia fell by nearly 70%, to £168 million, when compared to the 12-month average.
Chemicals were the only product to see a slight increase, owing to an increase in exports of medicinal and pharmaceutical products, which are exempt from sanctions.
Apart from government-imposed sanctions, the ONS stated that trade between Russia and the UK had decreased as businesses voluntarily sought alternatives to Russian goods.
The figures were released as Ukraine celebrated its independence day, six months after the Russian invasion began.
As a result of Russia’s invasion, the EU has stated that it will cut Russian gas imports by two-thirds within a year and has agreed to ban all Russian oil imports by sea by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the United States has banned all Russian oil and gas imports.
This data excludes services, where the UK has previously made large sums by advising Russian companies and wealthy individuals through consultants, accountants, and lawyers in London.
However, in terms of imported goods, it appears that sanctions have been highly effective.
According to the ONS, we imported no fuel from Russia in June, despite importing roughly half a billion pounds on average.
Prior to the war, gas imported from Russia accounted for about 4.9% of total UK gas imports; now, it is zero.
The UK has not reduced its overall gas imports; Russian gas has been largely replaced with gas from elsewhere.
That clearly demonstrates the mismatch between the effect of war on wholesale gas supply to the UK (modest) and the change in prices we’re paying (huge).
Much of the fear built into wholesale gas prices stems from market speculation about potential supply disruptions to Germany, Italy, and other Russian-gas-dependent countries.
Our own gas supply is far more reliable. However, because the energy price cap is linked to international wholesale gas prices, the danger is that when the price cap is re-sets in October, millions of households will end up paying unnecessarily high bills that include a lot of irrelevant fear.