How can Ukraine leave Russia with almost no oil? Fuel exports hit “near historic lows”.

Ukraine has made the Russian oil industry a legitimate target for attacks against Moscow. Since the beginning of the year, Ukrainian forces have attacked more than 12 refineries in nine Russian regions — and the results are showing.

Ukraine has been carrying out drone strikes against oil refineries in Russian territory, creating major problems for Moscow, which now faces fuel shortages to guarantee its war effort, but also to maintain oil exports.

As stated therein Politics, citing official Kremlin figures, said diesel prices for Russian consumers have risen, rising 10% last week. But it's not just diesel that has risen: petrol prices have also hit their highest level in the past six months, increasing by more than 20% since the start of the year.

This is the result of Ukrainian attacks on Russian oil refineries, which the Kiev military classifies as legitimate war targets. On Wednesday, two Rosneft refineries, located 500 kilometers from the border with Ukraine, were heavily damaged following an attack by Ukrainian drones. Since the beginning of the year, according to POLITICO, Ukrainian forces have already attacked more than 12 refineries in nine Russian regions.

As a result, Russia, one of the world's largest oil exporters, was forced to cut fuel exports to “almost historic lows,” as POLITICO described, indicating that Moscow exported more than 712,000 tons of diesel last week alone. As against 844 tonnes exported during the same period in 2023.

Philip Ingram, a former British intelligence officer, points out that “it's a good way to relieve pressure from the front” in Ukraine, and has serious consequences for the Russian economy, although most Western countries have stopped importing. Russian oil, gasoline and diesel, along with several countries in the United Arab Emirates, South America and North Africa, continue to buy it for re-export.

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Marina Shakina, an expert on the Russian economy at the Institute for International Strategic Studies, suggests to POLITICO that these “physical sanctions” by Ukraine on Russia may “precipitate real sanctions.”

“Kiev discovered that Moscow's technological vulnerability to Russian refineries and Ukrainian drone strikes are accelerating the impact of Western sanctions,” he concludes.

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