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Oil Closes Higher As Russia Strikes Kyiv During UN Visit

Oil prices continued to tick higher to close on Thursday, as Russian airstrikes hit the Ukrainian capital Kyiv as the UN Secretary General was visiting. 

In the first Russian missile strikes on Kyiv in two weeks, Russia made a show of heavy-handed air attacks to coincide with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ arrival in the Ukrainian capital, just 48 hours after he had held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. 

Three people have been wounded in the attacks, one of which struck a residential building, according to the Kyiv mayor, cited by AFP

Benchmark U.S. crude oil for June delivery hit $105.36 per barrel, up $3.34. Brent crude for June delivery gained $2.27, hitting $107.59 a barrel.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba condemned the Russian attacks as a “heinous act of barbarism”, while Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, writing on Twitter, said this was “an attack on the security of the Secretary General and on world security”.

Oil prices closed higher amid Russia’s attack after trending higher all day following bullish sentiment sparked by the notion that Germany has dropped opposition to a total Russian oil ban. 

The improved prospects for Germany to agree with other members of the European Union to implement a total ban on Russian oil suggests an even tighter supply situation for crude oil markets, somewhat dulling concerns of a reduction in demand coming out of China’s COVID lockdowns.

The Russian airstrikes on Kyiv come as NATO vowed to continue support for Ukraine for years, with a particular focus on helping it modernize its weapons systems. Also on Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden asked Congress for $33 billion to support Ukraine. 

In another jolt to markets, a top media chief for the Kremlin-controlled RT broadcaster has issued an indirect threat on public television, stating that Putin is more likely to launch a nuclear attack than to concede defeat to Ukraine. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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