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22 Mar, 2024 09:50

US told Kiev to stop strikes on Russian oil sites – FT

The White House is reportedly concerned that a possible hike in gas prices could threaten Joe Biden’s re-election bid
US told Kiev to stop strikes on Russian oil sites – FT

US officials have repeatedly warned Ukrainian military commanders that their attacks on Russian oil infrastructure could trigger global energy price hikes, the Financial Times revealed on Friday. Washington is reportedly worried that this could threaten Joe Biden’s re-election bid.

The White House has “grown increasingly frustrated by brazen Ukrainian drone attacks” on Russian refineries, terminals and other oil infrastructure, the British newspaper quoted one of its sources as saying.

Washington’s objections come months before a presidential election in the US, where “Biden faces a tough re-election battle this year with petrol prices on the rise, increasing almost 15% this year,” the newspaper noted.

”Nothing terrifies a sitting American president more than a surge in pump prices during an election year,” former White House energy adviser Bob McNally told the FT.

The Ukrainian security service (SBU) and military intelligence service (GUR) were behind the string of recent attacks, the newspaper said. The warnings from Washington were delivered directly to senior officials in those agencies, sources said.

Kiev reportedly justified the strikes by claiming they undermine the supply of fuel to frontline troops and hit Moscow’s profits from the oil trade. They also “deliver a symbolic blow by bringing the war closer to Moscow.”

Some sources also suggested that Kiev was using the strategy to pressure Washington to approve $60 billion in proposed aid for Ukraine.

The sabotage operations could reduce supply to the global oil market and push prices up, the Americans reportedly told Ukrainian officials. Moscow could also shut down the CPC pipeline, which goes from Kazakhstan to Russia’s port of Novorossiysk and is used by Western firms giants ExxonMobil and Chevron, the FT said.

There were at least a dozen significant attacks on Russian oil infrastructure by Ukrainian forces this year, according to official statements and media reports. These started with the January 18 strike on a terminal in St. Petersburg. One of the latest incidents happened in Samara Region, where a Ukrainian drone caused a fire at a refinery last Saturday.