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Russia’s missile attacks on Ukrainian power infrastructure this week, which included a strike on an apartment that killed a resident, was in response to a drone attack on the Russian fleet in Crimea, President Vladimir Putin told media today, as quoted by Reuters.
The drone attacks targeted the Russian fleet in the Black Sea port and Russia responded by withdrawing from the UN-brokered grain export deal it had agreed to earlier this year. According to Putin, the attackers used the grain corridor created under the deal to get to their targets.
The Ukrainian side has not claimed responsibility for the attack on the Russian fleet.
Russia has been focusing its attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure since the bombing of the Crimean bridge last month.
These latest developments suggest that the chances for an end to the conflict that has entered its ninth month are as slim as they have been for months. This is bad news for the world given Russia’s and Ukraine’s importance as grain exporters.
It is also bad news for energy markets because, after the sabotage of Nord Stream 1 and 2, Ukraine remains one of just two channels for Russian gas to Europe, along with Turkey. A further escalation of the war could lead to even less gas reaching the global market.
Europe appears to be prepared for such an eventuality in the short term, with its gas storage facilities full, more LNG cargoes coming to European ports, and some luck in the form of warmer-than-usual weather in October.
Meanwhile, the UN and Turkey, who together brokered the grain deal, are trying to salvage it despite Russia’s pullout, Reuters reported earlier this week. According to the report, the participating parties had agreed on the departure of 12 outbound vessels after due inspection from the joint coordination center that involves Russian and Ukrainian officials.
Another 40 vessels were to be inspected on Monday, Reuters noted in its report.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com