According to a media report, Russia is buying up old tankers on a large scale in order to circumvent western sanctions in the oil trade.
The country is said to have bought around 100 used oil tankers during the year, reports the Financial Times, citing data from ship broker Braemar and energy consultancy Rystad.
The aim of the "shadow fleet" built up in this way is to circumvent the oil price cap decided by the EU and G7 and to continue to transport crude oil to third countries such as India, China or Turkey.
The limited oil price could limit Moscow's ability to finance the offensive in Ukraine.
The Kremlin stressed that it would not accept the price cap imposed by the G7 countries, the European Union and Australia on Russian oil.
"We will not accept this price cap," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Saturday, according to Russian news agencies.
He added that Moscow had prepared in advance for such a cap, but gave no further details.
This Monday, both the EU oil embargo and the recently agreed price cap on Russian oil will come into force.
The latter is trying to force Russia to sell its crude oil on the world market at a price ceiling of $60 a barrel.
For the price cap, the EU is leveraging the transport and the necessary services such as insurance.
According to Brussels officials, European shipping companies operate more than half of all tankers in the world.
The principle is: Shipments of Russian oil to third countries are prohibited - unless the price of the cargo is not higher than the agreed upper limit of 60 dollars per barrel.
In other words, if the price limit is adhered to, Western shipping companies can continue to bring Russian oil to India, China or other countries with their ships.
One way of avoiding Russia's dependence on European shipping companies is to buy its own ships.
According to the Financial Times, ship broker Rystad estimates that Russia needs more than 240 tankers to sustain its current exports.
A Rystad analyst quoted by the Financial Times estimates that if the price cap sanctions come into force, Russia could be missing 60 to 70 tankers.
That could mean a drop in seaborne exports of about 200,000 barrels a day.
According to the Financial Times, the ships purchased so far are between 12 and 15 years old and would have been scrapped in the coming years anyway.
Among the acquired ships are said to be so-called super tankers, which have a capacity of up to 2 million barrels.
Some probably come from Iran and Venezuela.
Both countries are themselves subject to sanctions by western states.