Given that a handful of countries that rank among the top largest economies in the world have thus far been reluctant to firmly condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine, this could prove the significant monkey wrench in US-EU plans to severely isolate and wreak havoc on global Russian exports.
Among these include the obvious - China, but also there's India, the UAE, Brazil and Indonesia. India for example - standing just behind the UK as the 6th largest economy - remains the the single largest buyer of Russian weapons. India is also reportedly seeking more discounted Russian oil, in what looks to be a potential move away from Saudi crude.
In early March, The New York Times noted that India was among those countries dependent on many Russian imports that's attempting to "stay above the fray". "When India abstained from a United Nations vote and the chorus of Western condemnation against the Ukraine invasion, it appeared to be taking sides: offering tacit support for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia," the Times emphasized previously.
And now Washington is putting New Delhi on notice that it faces 'significant costs' should it become aligned with Russia, and as a major export destination allowing Putin to side-step sanctions effects.
The Biden administraiton's Director of the National Economic Council of the United States Brian Deese has said the US remains "disappointed" with aspects of the Indian government's reaction to the Ukraine crisis.
"There are certainly areas where we have been disappointed by both China and India’s decisions, in the context of the invasion," he said a Wednesday event in D.C.
He was cited as saying in Bloomberg:
The US has told India that the consequences of a “more explicit strategic alignment” with Moscow would be “significant and long-term,” he said.
India has so far rejected falling in line with the West's anti-Russia sanctions, instead continuing to import Russian oil, which remains at an estimated 2% of its total oil imports.
Whatever you make of this emotion the salience of it is restricted to only a few of the dark blue countries. Ukraine’s supporters should worry that two thirds of humanity live in neutral or Russia-leaning countries. https://t.co/1IssHf6Qmb pic.twitter.com/kKYX5hfxqy— Ben Judah (@b_judah) April 6, 2022
As NBC News reviewed of recent visits of top Washington officials to New Delhi:
A flurry of visits by Russian and Western diplomats is unlikely to change India’s neutral stance on the war in Ukraine, experts say, particularly since the war has the support of a public being bombarded by media coverage that blames the U.S. for the conflict.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has meanwhile praised the Modi government for the avoidance of adopting a merely “one-sided view” of the conflict in Ukraine.
On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary issued statements demanding that fence-sitting countries urgently conform to US and European sanctions measures. "We don’t believe it’s in India’s interest to accelerate or increase imports of Russian energy and other commodities," she said directly addressing New Delhi in the press conference. She stressed that "every country should abide by the sanctions that we [ the U.S.] have announced and that we’re implementing around the world."