India is exploring options to buy Russian crude oil, authorities said on Tuesday as prices tumbled to their lowest in view of the Ukrainian conflict and the sanctions imposed by western countries, reported AFP.

Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri said the government was holding conversations “at the appropriate level of the Russian Federation” regarding the purchase.

“There are several issues to be gone into like how much oil is available,” he told Parliament. Puri added that the government was weighing on matters related to insurance, freight and payment method for the crude.

International oil prices have increased over 40% so far this year, according to Reuters. The price of Brent crude stood at $101.29 (Rs 7,733) on Wednesday at 8.15 am Indian Standard Time, according to Bloomberg.

International oil prices had crossed the $100 per barrel mark for the first time in seven years as Russian invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Russia is the world’s largest exporter of crude and fuels and with numerous buyers boycotting the country, it has raised fears of supply disruption.

Higher costs are detrimental to India as it imports 85% of its crude oil. Government data showed that India only buys 3% of the oil supplies from Russia. But, unidentified officials told Reuters that that the Centre can increase the import as Russia was offering oil and other commodities at a heavy discount.

Reuters had also reported on February 25 that the Indian government was looking into ways to formulate a mechanism for rupee payments for trade with Russia. This was reportedly being done to to deal with the effect of international sanctions on Russia.

Meanwhile, the United States clarified on Tuesday that if India takes up Russia’s offer to buy crude oil at a discount then it would not be a violation of American sanctions, reported PTI.

“But also think about where you want to stand when history books are written at this moment in time,” White House Secretary Jen Psaki added. “Support for the Russian leadership is support for an invasion that obviously is having a devastating impact.”

While India has called for stopping the violence in Ukraine, it has not condemned the Russian invasion yet.

On March 2, India had abstained from voting on the resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly that deplored the Russian invasion of Ukraine. India had abstained from voting against Russia twice before as well.

New Delhi has diplomatic and defence ties with Moscow and had hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin in December.