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Ukraine targets more Russian oil refineries a day after reports said the US had warned them not to

Plume of smoke in Lysychansk
A plume of smoke rising after Russian shells hit an oil refinery in Lysychansk in the Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine, in May 2022.Getty Images
  • Ukraine targeted two Russian oil refineries on Friday night.

  • The US had warned against such attacks due to potential oil price increases and Russian retaliation.

  • Ukraine's drone strikes on have reduced Russia's oil processing by 10%, said UK military intel.

Ukraine attacked Russia's oil infrastructure after US officials advised them against targeting Russian oil refineries, Bloomberg reports.

Russia's oil infrastructure took another hit as drones targeted refineries in the Samara region.

The Novokuibyshevsk refinery narrowly escaped damage, while the Kuibyshev refinery suffered a fire in one of its refining columns, Gov. Dmitry Azarov said.

The US has urged Ukraine to halt these attacks, according to The Financial Times, due to concerns over potential oil price increases and retaliation from Russia.

Responders managed to contain the blaze in Samara, averting a potential disaster at the facility, which boasts an annual oil processing capacity of 7 million tons, it was reported.

The targeted refineries, both part of Rosneft PJSC's Samara region group, play a crucial role in Russia's oil production landscape.

Footage distributed on social media claimed to show a Russian refinery ablaze in Samara last night. Business Insider was not able to verify its origins.

'Absolutely legitimate targets from a military point of view'

Ukraine's drone strikes on Russia's oil industry have inflicted significant damage, reducing processing capacity by 10%, said a
British defense intelligence update on Saturday.

"These strikes are imposing a financial cost on Russia, impacting the domestic fuel market. Depending on the extent of the damage, major repairs could take considerable time and expense. Sanctions are highly likely increasing the time and cost of sourcing replacement equipment," said the UK Ministry of Defence.

The strikes have targeted refineries, storage depots, and other key sites, exacerbating economic pain and raising fears of further escalation.

Another US concern at Ukraine's degrading of Russia's energy infrastructure, the FT said, is that Russia could retaliate by targeting energy infrastructure the West relies on, such as the CPC pipeline that transports oil from Kazakhstan to global markets.

According to Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olga Stefanishyna, officials in Kyiv believe that the refineries are "absolutely legitimate targets from a military point of view."

"We understand the calls of our American partners," she said. "At the same time, we are fighting with the capabilities, resources, and practices that we have."

Firefighters extinguish oil tanks at a storage facility that local authorities say caught fire after the military brought down a Ukrainian drone, in the town of Klintsy in the Bryansk Region, Russia January 19, 2024.
Firefighters extinguish oil tanks at a storage facility that local authorities say caught fire after the military brought down a Ukrainian drone, in the town of Klintsy in the Bryansk Region, Russia January 19, 2024.Russian Emergencies Ministry/Reuters

It's not the first time the Biden administration has attempted to rein in Kyiv over its war strategy.

It previously warned Ukraine against using US-supplied weapons to strike inside Russia.

Ukraine got around this ban by developing its own weapons that could strike inside Russia. Indeed, the refineries targeted in the Samara oblast last night are over 800 miles from Kyiv.

On Thursday, Russia retaliated against Ukraine's energy hubs, including the country's largest dam, with a wave of missiles and drones that left a million people without power.

Ukraine's energy minister, German Galushchenko, said Russia wanted to provoke "a large-scale failure of the country's energy system," per BBC News.

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