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WP: Zelensky defends Ukraine's strategy of targeting Russian oil refineries, emphasizes self-defense

by Sonya Bandouil March 30, 2024 2:08 AM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks while visiting with wounded Ukrainian soldiers at the Staten Island University Hospital in New York City on Sept. 18, 2023. (Angela Weiss / AFP via Getty Images)
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In an interview with the Washington Post published on March 29, President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed disagreement with the United States' response to Ukraine's strikes on Russian oil refineries, emphasizing that Ukraine has the right to use its own weapons for self-defense.

Despite concerns from the U.S., Zelensky asserted that targeting Russian energy infrastructure is a legitimate military strategy, and Ukrainian officials maintained that these attacks adhere to NATO standards.

According to the Financial Times, the United States allegedly urged Ukraine to limit attacks on Russian energy infrastructure citing potential repercussions on global oil prices.

“The reaction of the U.S. was not positive on this,” Zelensky told the Washington Post, when asked about rumors that U.S. officials warned against such attacks inside Russia

"We used our drones. Nobody can say to us you can’t," Zelensky said, emphasizing that Washington could not limit Ukraine's use of weapons of its own production.

Zelensky's comments come as Ukraine continues to carry out attacks on Russian oil refineries. A recent attack on March 17 successfully targeted 12 Russian oil refineries amounting to about 12% of Russia's oil-processing capacity, according to Bloomberg.

The strikes serve as retaliation for Russian attacks on critical infrastructure, and align with Ukraine's military objectives.

Between March 21 and March 25, Russian forces initiated a new series of missile and drone assaults on Ukraine, causing significant damage to the nation's critical infrastructure. The March 22 strike damaged the Dnipro Hydroelectric Power Plant, Ukraine's largest hydroelectric station, leaving 1.5 million Ukrainian residents without power across various regions.

According to Deputy Minister of Energy Svitlana Hrynchuk, Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure since the start of the full-scale invasion have amounted to at least $11.5 billion in damage.

"If there's no air defense to protect our power system and Russia attacks it, my question is why can't we hit them back? When Russia stops these moves, we will stop," Zelensky said.

Russia launches major attack across Ukraine targeting critical infrastructure
Russian forces fired 29 cruise missiles and 28 Shahed drones in a large-scale attack targeting eight regions in the west, center, north, and south of Ukraine, the Air Force said.
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