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Attacks on Russian refineries have proved incredibly successful, leaving Russia running out of petrol – Politico

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Attacks on Russian refineries have proved incredibly successful, leaving Russia running out of petrol – Politico

A wave of Ukrainian drone strikes on oil refineries deep inside Russia has forced the Kremlin to defend its territory while waging war. However, these attacks have also led to the unthinkable – the world’s largest oil producer has been left short of petrol, sending local fuel prices skyrocketing.

Source: Politico

Details: Diesel prices for Russian consumers have soared, surging nearly 10% over the past week alone, based on government data.

The cost of petrol also hit a six-month high, increasing by over 20% since the start of the year, as supply dwindles and more refineries are compelled to halt production.

Two fuel storage facilities belonging to Russian energy giant Rosneft, about 500 kilometres from the border with Ukraine, were severely damaged by drones last Wednesday, setting fuel ablaze.

Over a dozen oil refineries in nine Russian regions have been hit in similar ways this year, with officials in Kyiv declaring the industry a legitimate military target.

Quote from Philip Ingram, former UK military intelligence officer: „It’s like a mosquito — when you can’t find it, can’t kill it and it keeps coming back night after night, you’re going to be exhausted. It’s a very good way of taking the pressure off from the front lines.“

More details: Ingram believes that strikes are „having an effect because they’re destroying oil infrastructure and other critical national infrastructure“.

He predicted this strategy would „be studied in officer training academies in decades to come.“

Consequently, Moscow has reduced its fuel exports to near-historic lows, shipping just over 712,000 tonnes of diesel last week, compared to over 844,000 in the same week in 2023.

For Moscow, this is both a political and a military problem. In addition to being essential to Russia’s war effort, cheap fuel is an essential part of Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s compensation for the population, an antidote to lagging wages and a weak rouble.

Politico suggests that this trend will likely continue for the foreseeable future.

Quote from Maria Shagina, an expert on the Russian economy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies: „Ukraine’s ‘physical sanctions’ can accelerate the actual ones. Kyiv has found Moscow’s technological vulnerability and Ukrainian drone strikes on Russian refineries speed up the impact of Western sanctions which have seen those refineries already struggle to replace Western equipment, spare parts and software.“

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