(The Hill) – Shell pledged on Saturday to pay any profits it makes from the purchase of Russian oil into a special fund to help Ukrainians after receiving intense backlash over the purchase of a shipment of Russian oil.
In a report posted on Twitter, the oil company said it would “commit the profits from the limited amount of Russian oil we have to buy into a dedicated fund” and coordinate with aid agencies and partners on how to distribute the money.
It comes after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Saturday morning that he had been informed that Shell was “quietly” buying oil from Russia.
“A question to @Shell: doesn’t Russian oil smell of Ukrainian blood to you? kuleba tweeted. “I call on all conscious people around the world to demand that multinational companies cut all commercial ties with Russia.”
In its statement, released hours after Kuleba’s tweet, Shell noted that Russia is a major oil producer. Russia is the world’s third largest oil producer after the United States and Saudi Arabia, producing around 10% of the world’s oil supply.
“Yesterday we made the difficult decision to purchase a shipment of Russian crude oil,” the company said, saying the purchase was made with the aim of ensuring “security of energy supply.” “We did not take this decision lightly and we understand the strength of the feelings surrounding it.
“We will continue to choose alternatives to Russian oil wherever possible, but this cannot happen overnight due to Russia’s importance in global supply,” Shell added.
On Monday, Shell announced it would end joint ventures with Russian-majority oil giant Gazprom, joining a host of companies severing ties with Russia and Russian entities amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
In Saturday’s statement, Shell said it was still determined to end projects with Gazprom.
“We are appalled by the war in Ukraine,” the company said.
The news comes as the Biden administration considers whether to ban imports of Russian oil into the United States.
The decision is complicated by rising gasoline prices, with average U.S. gasoline prices hitting $3.92 a gallon nationwide on Saturday afternoon, according to transportation company Triple A.
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