Fearing Spike in Oil Prices, US Tells Ukraine To Halt Attacks on Russian Energy

White House officials are frustrated with their Ukrainian counterparts for ignoring warnings from the US

US officials are losing patience as Kiev fails to heed American demands to stop attacking Russian energy infrastructure. The White House fears the attacks will lead to an increase in oil prices and trigger reprisals by Moscow.

According to the Financial Times, “The White House had grown increasingly frustrated by brazen Ukrainian drone attacks that have struck oil refineries, terminals, depots, and storage facilities across western Russia, hurting its oil production capacity,” adding that US officials are concerned with “driving up global oil prices and provoking retaliation.”

The demands to halt attacks on Russian oil facilities may appear confounding to Kiev after NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg green-lit Ukrainian attacks inside Russia last month. Additionally, President Joe Biden has vowed to cripple the Russian economy, and the West has used sanctions and price caps in an effort to curb Moscow’s energy exports.

The White House may see increasing gas prices at home as a primary concern with the 2024 election on the horizon. Bob McNally, a former White House energy adviser, said, “Nothing terrifies a sitting American president more than a surge in pump prices during an election year,” as cited by FT.

As Ukrainian losses on the battlefield have continued in recent weeks, Kiev has conducted more attacks on Russian soil. This has led the Kremlin to evacuate thousands of children from a border region. Ukrainian forces also successfully attacked seven energy targets in Russia last week.

Washington’s fear that attacks on Moscow’s energy infrastructure will prompt retaliatory strikes on Ukrainian energy seems to have materialized. On Friday, the BBC reported, “A million people are without power across Ukraine after Russian missiles targeted energy infrastructure,” with Kiev’s Energy Minister German Galushchenko saying Moscow aimed to cause “a large-scale failure of the country’s energy system.”

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of Antiwar.com, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.