Defense threatens to shut down fuel suppliers over Russian oil use

Defense chiefs have threatened to close fuel suppliers over their use of Russian oil after The Telegraph raised questions about Britain’s military supply chains.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said it would take “immediate action” to switch suppliers if they were found to be using Russian products in the deliveries.

It buys fuel from a range of suppliers, including jet fuel from Motor Oil Hellas, a refinery in Greece with whom it signed a new £10 million contract in May this year for fuel to Cyprus.

Motor Oil signed a five-year supply deal with Rosneft in November 2017, according to reports at the time, while tanker tracking data indicates that since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, cargoes of fuel oil have been shipped from Russia to its terminal in Corinth.

The Greece-listed company told analysts in April that its purchases of Ural crude, Russia’s flagship oil, would account for about 5.5 percent of its total purchases in 2021.

A Defense Ministry spokesman said it had received “assurance that the products we buy from Motor Oil Hellas do not come from Russian suppliers”.

It added: “If it is determined that oil products supplied to Defense come from Russian suppliers, we will take immediate action to switch to alternative suppliers.”

Russia’s war on Ukraine has prompted many buyers to avoid Russian supplies, fail to fund the Kremlin war and because of sanctions concerns.

The Cabinet Office issued new guidelines to government agencies in March, telling them to identify and consider terminating contracts with Russian and Belarusian companies.

Steve Barclay, Boris Johnson’s chief of staff, said public money “shouldn’t fund Putin’s war machine”.

However, neither the UK nor the EU plan to ban Russian oil imports until the end of the year. The EU agreed in late May to cut 90 percent of Russia’s crude oil imports to the bloc by the end of the year.

The UK said in March it will phase out imports by the end of the year, but should give the industry enough time to adjust supply chains.

Motor Oil Hellas did not respond to requests for comment.

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