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Deputy PM says Russian oil refineries are 'legitimate targets' after alleged US warning

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 22, 2024 11:24 PM 2 min read
Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna speaks with the Kyiv Independent in downtown Kyiv. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)
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The oil refineries in Russia that have been attacked by Ukraine are "absolutely legitimate targets" from a military point of view, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna said at the Kyiv Security Forum on March 22.

Her statement came after Financial Times' report that U.S. allegedly warned Ukraine to stop attacking Russian oil refineries, cautioning that strikes against the facilities could raise global oil prices and increase the risk of further retaliation. The newspaper cited unnamed sources in Ukraine's military intelligence and Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

Stefanishyna did not directly confirm whether there was such a call, but said that Ukraine has demonstrated that "it has achieved its goals and that the operations conducted in Russia were very successful."

"We understand the call of our U.S. allies, but at the same time, we are fighting with the capabilities, resources and practices that we have today," Stefanishyna said.

The deputy prime minister said that after Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022, she spoke with representatives of NATO headquarters and asked to help "close the sky" over Ukraine. In NATO's understanding, Stefanishyna said, this meant "primarily destroying the infrastructure in Russia used to attack Ukraine."

"We are acting to the best NATO standards," she added.

In the past weeks, Ukrainian forces have launched a series of drone strikes aimed at damaging Russia's oil industry. Ukraine has hit oil refineries in multiple regions deep inside the Russian territory.

Ukrainian drones hit one Russian oil refinery after another
Ukraine faces a challenging problem: how to stop a resurgent Moscow in its tracks long enough to rotate the troops, resupply, and fortify. Part of the answer is playing out right now in the skies over Russia. Over the past two weeks, at least dozens of Ukrainian drones reportedly struck
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