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25 Mar, 2024 10:55

Ukrainian security service boasts about attacks on Russian oil refineries

The US has reportedly urged Kiev to refrain from drone raids due to fears of a gas price surge
Ukrainian security service boasts about attacks on Russian oil refineries

The head of Ukraine’s domestic security service (SBU) has claimed credit for a series of attacks on Russian civilian sites, including the Crimean Bridge and oil refineries.

In a statement on Monday, Vasily Malyuk said transport and oil infrastructure are among “the most painful points” that his agency “hits daily” amid the hostilities with Moscow.

The sites are “legitimate targets” because they “work for the Russian military industrial complex,” the senior official claimed, adding that Ukrainian strikes can happen “even where they are least expected.” 

A series of Ukrainian drone attacks have targeted Russian oil sites since mid-January, in some cases causing disruption at the facilities. The Financial Times claimed last week that US officials have urged Kiev to halt the strikes over concerns that they could cause shortages on the global energy market. In particular, the White House is concerned that a hike in gas prices in the US could undermine President Joe Biden’s chances of reelection in November, according to the report.

The Ukrainian government has denied being pressured by the Americans. Mikhail Podoliak, a senior aide to President Vladimir Zelensky, branded the FT report “fictitious information” in an interview last Friday.

Ukrainian strikes on Russian energy infrastructure are lawful and necessary to undermine its military, he insisted, while claiming that Moscow’s attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure are “genocidal” in intent. Nobody can “dictate to Ukraine the conditions on how to prosecute this war,” Podoliak added.

The White House reiterated its policy not to encourage Ukraine to deliver strikes inside Russia when asked about the FT report by the Ukrainian branch of state-funded news outlet Voice of America.

The Russian military resumed massive long-range strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure last week after a months-long pause. Ukrainian officials said a barrage on Friday caused the most significant damage to the power grid thus far in the armed conflict.

Moscow added several Ukrainian energy facilities to the list of targets it considers legitimate in October 2022. President Vladimir Putin said at the time that the shift in military tactics was justified by the Ukrainian bombing of the Crimean Bridge earlier that month. The attack involved a powerful explosive device being smuggled inside a truck and detonated on the bridge, killing the driver and four other civilians.

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