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Energy minister: Ukraine may target Russian oil in response to attacks on power grid

by Abbey Fenbert November 11, 2023 2:46 AM 2 min read
Energy Minister German Galushchenko gives an interview in Kyiv on Nov. 1, 2023. (Kyodo News via Getty Images)
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Ukraine will consider attacking Russia's oil and gas infrastructure in retaliation for strikes against Ukraine's electric system during winter, Energy Minister German Galushchenko told Politico in an interview Nov. 10.

"It would only be fair," he said.

Galushchenko spoke with Politico in Washington, D.C. after meeting with U.S. lawmakers and White House officials.

He said Russian attacks against the power grid are expected to intensify as temperatures fall and the need for indoor heating becomes critical.

“When answering [Russia’s attack], we would answer by taking the same approach, attacking their energy infrastructure,” he said.

In the fall and winter of 2022, Russian forces launched massive attacks against Ukraine's energy infrastructure, damaging nearly half of the country's power system.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Oct. 31 that Ukrainians will "not only defend ourselves, but also respond" to Russian attacks on critical infrastructure in the cold season.

Galuschenko indicated to reporters that this response could include strikes on Russia's oil and gas operations.

Fossil fuels are the primary drivers of the Russian economy – and the main source of revenues for the Kremlin's war machine. While Europe has reduced its reliance on Russian oil since February 2022, Russia still provides oil and gas to other countries, primarily India and China.

Galuschenko said attacks on Russian fuel operations would not necessarily mean a rise in global oil prices.

“Attacks to the infrastructure would not be so critical for the prices, especially when you’re talking about gas and oil,” he said. “I mean, those are the fuels which you could buy not only in Russia. I’m sure the world could manage.”

Galuschenko also said he urged U.S. officials to adopt sanctions on Russian nuclear energy.

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