The criticism of India by the Western countries on its imports of Russian crude oil while exempting themselves from their "own illegitimate sanctions" is a reflection of their unprincipled position and double standards, Russian Ambassador Denis Alipov said on Sunday.

The envoy said trade between India and Russia has been on an upswing and both sides have several payment systems in place and that there is an option even of using currencies of third countries with certain "partners" in Asia and in the Middle East offering viable choices.

Russia has not been a major source of fossil fuel for India but the imports of discounted Russian crude oil have seen a massive increase in the last few months.

"Those in the West who criticise India not just slyly keep silent about the fact that they themselves actively buy Russian energy resources exempting them from their own illegitimate sanctions, but in doing so explicitly demonstrate their unprincipled position and double standards while claiming otherwise," Alipov said.

The ambassador said Europe has "completely lost" its independent voice while "appeasing" the USA's ambitions for power, and is now trying to sustain its economic well-being while triggering an escalation of energy prices for the rest of the globe.

Bilateral trade

The ambassador also suggested that there was no impact of Western sanctions against Moscow on India-Russia trade and said the trade volume in the first six months of this year alone recorded a turnover of $11.1 billion

"We have every reason to believe that by the end of this year we will reach a historic record, and that is not only due to large-scale supplies of hydrocarbons which have grown more than 10 times," he said.

Talking about several payment systems for bilateral trade, Alipov said one of them is using the national currencies, adding the volume of trade in national currencies amounted to over 40 per cent in recent years.

"Recently the RBI issued a special circular, which extends the use of rupee in international trade. It is yet another step to support the option for the trading community to exercise invoicing, paying and settling operations in national currencies," Alipov said.

"Secondly, there is a mechanism of using currencies of third countries with viable options offered by our partners in Asia and in the Middle East. We also see immense potential in the establishment of the BRICS international reserve fund," he said.

Alipov said the Russian companies and banks, which are not sanctioned, can still engage in economic activities using the US Dollar and Euro.

Emerging opportunities

Alipov also said there has been growing interest from both Russia and India to further diversify trade ties taking advantage of "emerging opportunities".

"The overall purpose is to supplement each other's economic strategies as both our countries aim to increase the level of self-reliance and are keen to explore new markets facilitated by sustained mechanisms of financial transactions and logistics," he said.

Asked about India's position on the Ukraine crisis, the ambassador said Russia respects and appreciates New Delhi's consistent position as it is based on solid foundations of international law and a strategic vision of national interests.

He said the best characteristic of Russia's strategic partnership with India is that it is not directed against anyone.

India has not yet criticised the Russian attack on Ukraine and has been maintaining that the crisis should be resolved through dialogue.