Russian President Vladimir Putin told a meeting of BRICS leaders on Wednesday that Russia is “actively redirecting its trade flows” to the BRICS countries as Moscow is facing Western sanctions.
BRICS is an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, which together represent more than 40% of the world’s population. Russia’s BRICS partners have not followed the US-led sanctions campaign, and some have stepped up Russian oil imports as Western countries have been banning the commodity.
China, the world’s largest oil importer, has significantly increased its purchase of Russian oil, resulting in Russia overtaking Saudi Arabia as Beijing’s top oil supplier. In May, China imported 1.98 million barrels per day (bpd) of Russian crude, an increase of 55% from May last year. Asia has also outpaced Europe as the largest buyer of Russian oil.
Speaking to a BRICS business forum by video link, Putin denounced “the permanent implementation of new politically motivated sanctions” by the US and its allies.
“Businessmen of our countries are forced to develop their business under difficult conditions where Western partners neglect the basic principles of market economy, free trade, as well as the inviolability of private property,” Putin said.
The Russian leader called for the BRICS nations to increase ties and said Russia is developing an alternative “international reserve currency” to reduce dependence on the dollar and euro.
At the same forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping denounced “expanding military alliances” as the US is trying to rally allies against Beijing in the Asia Pacific. “History has shown that hegemony, group politics and confrontations between blocs bring neither peace nor stability, but war and conflict,” he said.