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HomeUSA NewsUkraine Stay Updates: Explosion Rocks Russian Air Base in Crimea

Ukraine Stay Updates: Explosion Rocks Russian Air Base in Crimea

Credit score…Janos Kummer/Getty Photos

In one other signal of the fragility of Europe’s dependence on Russian power, flows of oil from Russia to Central Europe have halted over a pipeline funds dispute, elevating fears that an “power struggle” between Moscow and its European oil prospects might escalate.

Authorities in Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic confirmed on Tuesday that Russian oil deliveries from a essential pipeline stopped on Thursday. The three international locations, which rely closely on Russian oil to gasoline their economies, are exempted from a European Union choice to start out banning imports of Russian oil later this 12 months.

The dispute facilities on the southern leg of a Chilly Battle-era pipeline — referred to as Druzhba, the Russian phrase for friendship — that carries crude oil some 2,500 miles from the Urals to Central Europe.

Transneft, the state-owned operator of the Russian portion of the pipeline, pays transit charges to its Ukrainian counterpart, UkrTransNafta, for the oil to move via that nation. However on Tuesday, Transneft mentioned its July cost had been returned, and it blamed points associated to European sanctions aimed toward punishing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Transneft mentioned UkrTransNafta had then halted oil flows to Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

UkrTransNafta had no instant remark.

Jozef Sikela, the minister of business and commerce for the Czech Republic, mentioned in an announcement on Twitter that his nation was not receiving oil from Russia and was involved with “all related actors” in hopes of discovering a decision.

“The following few days will present whether or not that is one other escalation of the power struggle by Russia or a technical downside in funds,” Mr. Sikela mentioned.

Each Transpetrol, the pipeline operator in Slovakia, and MOL, the operator in Hungary, confirmed that no crude was reaching their international locations due to the cost downside between Russia and Ukraine.

All three mentioned they’d oil reserves that might enable them to cowl any shortfall over the approaching weeks. However an prolonged disruption might trigger bother for the refineries related to the hyperlink.

MOL mentioned in an emailed assertion that it was “repeatedly engaged on an answer, and can also be in talks about assuming the charges itself.”

An alternate pipeline via the Adriatic Sea might be used to produce oil to all three international locations, in response to IHS Markit, a analysis agency. Nevertheless it cautioned that the capability reaching Hungary and Slovakia may not be sufficient to totally cowl shortfalls if Russia totally reduce off deliveries.

As of January, it estimated, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic had been receiving about 250,000 barrels a day from Russia via the pipeline.

Germany and Poland, on the northern finish of the pipeline, weren’t affected by the interruption, Transneft mentioned.

The value of Brent crude oil, the worldwide benchmark, rose on the information of the pipeline shutdown however later fell again, buying and selling 0.5 p.c decrease, at simply over $96 per barrel.

Since invading Ukraine in February, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has proven that he’s keen to make use of his management of the power spigot as leverage over Europe. He has additionally demonstrated his knack for maintaining his adversaries off-balance by sending blended alerts and making an attempt to play Western allies in opposition to each other.

Within the spring, Russia reduce deliveries of pure fuel to a number of European international locations, beginning with Bulgaria and Poland after which including Finland. In June, on the day that the leaders of France, Germany and Italy visited Kyiv, these international locations reported a shortfall of deliveries of Russian fuel, as did Austria and the Czech Republic.

Flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany, Europe’s primary shopper of Russian fuel, had been slashed by 60 p.c in June after which by 80 p.c in July. Moscow blamed the disruption on a pipeline part that was being refurbished by a German firm at a manufacturing unit in Canada, inflicting tensions between Ottawa and Berlin.

Benjamin Novak and Monika Pronczuk contributed reporting.



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