UK imports from with Russia collapsed 96.7 per cent in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, official figures show.
Imports of goods from Russia totalled £33m in June 2022, the lowest level since records began in January 1997, the Office for National Statistics reported.
June 2022 was the first month since records began that the UK imported no fuel from Russia, down from an average of £499m per month in the year to February 2022.
The ONS said: “The economic sanctions applied by the UK Government are likely to have driven the decreases in imports from and exports to Russia; however self-sanctioning, whereby traders voluntarily seek alternatives to Russian goods, is also likely a factor.”
In March, the government announced that the UK would phase out Russian oil imports by the end of the year, and end imports of Russian liquefied natural gas as soon as possible thereafter.
While imports of oil are allowed during this transition period, businesses have been encouraged to secure oil from alternative sources, which has resulted in a sharp and continued decrease of fuel imports since March 2022.
Before the invasion Russia was the UK’s largest supplier of refined oil in 2021, accounting for 24.1 per cent of imports, while also supplying 5.9 per cent of the UK’s crude oil imports, and 4.9 per cent of the UK’s gas imports.
Energy prices have soared to eye-watering levels throughout Europe as Russia has cut flows of gas to the Continent, raising the prospect of widespread industrial blackouts and rationing of supplies.