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"Ukraine knows best": Pentagon chief speaks about strikes on Russian oil refineries

Lloyd Austin
Lloyd Austin at the Ramstein meeting. March 2024. Source: Twitter (X) @SecDef

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has spoken out about Ukraine's strikes on Russian oil refineries. He believes that such strikes pose a risk of affecting global energy markets.

However, according to the Pentagon chief, "Ukraine knows best" which targets will be most effective in achieving the current tactical and operational objectives of the Ukrainian army. The Pentagon chief made the statement on April 9 at a meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

According to Bloomberg, the Ukrainian Defense Forces have recently been increasingly resorting to strikes deep into Russian territory. The targets included oil refineries. In this way, the Ukrainians were trying to prevent the supply of fuel for the occupation army, as well as to reduce Moscow's export revenues.

And during a meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Republican Senator Tom Cotton asked Austin about recent media reports about "recommendations" to Ukraine from the White House not to attack Russian oil refineries.

"Why is the Biden administration preventing Ukraine from carrying out some of the most effective attacks on Russia's military capabilities?" he asked.

Austin confirmed the connection between Ukrainian strikes on Russian refineries and the situation in global energy markets. However, he said that Ukraine has the right to decide when and where to strike.

"Of course, these attacks may have an additional effect on the global energy situation. But, frankly, I think Ukraine knows better, pursuing its tactical and operational goals, which can directly affect the course of the current struggle," Austin said.

Tom Cotton responded to the Pentagon chief's statement by accusing the Biden administration of hindering effective Ukrainian actions for political reasons.

"It seems to me that the Biden administration doesn't want gasoline prices to go up in an election year," the senator said.

At the same time, Austin reiterated his call for the House of Representatives to approve additional military support for Kyiv. He emphasized that such assistance also provides jobs for Americans by increasing US defense production.

To recap: On March 22, the FT reported on the fears of US officials that attacks on Russian refineries could lead to higher fuel prices.

As OBOZ.UA wrote:

– The Institute for the Study of War noted that drone attacks on oil refineries are forcing Russia to seek gasoline imports from Kazakhstan. So far, the aggressor country has not bought fuel. However, Moscow has already asked Astana to create an "emergency reserve" of 100,000 metric tons of gasoline for it.

– Drone attacks on Russian refineries forced the aggressor to impose a ban on gasoline exports, and now Russia is trying to increase sales of crude oil abroad. However, analysts believe that soon oil exports from the Russian Federation may also fall along with its production volumes if there is no place to store the raw materials.

– According to Reuters' NATO source, drone strikes on oil refineries in Russia could have disrupted the operation of more than 15% of Russian facilities.

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