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Putin Claims Election Victory as Ukraine Pounds Refineries

Russian President Vladimir Putin early on Monday declared victory in this weekend’s elections after running virtually unopposed, paving the way for him to serve six more years in office, as Ukraine steps up its latest strategy of targeting Russian oil refineries in cross-border drone strikes. 

Voting ended on Sunday, with thousands of voters descending on polling stations to protest what they felt was a sham election as exit polls shortly after polling closed showed that Putin had won with more than 87% of the vote after 78% of ballots had been counted, according to the Central Election Commission. Protesters organized under the “Noon Against Putin” banner in solidarity with the wife of late opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died earlier this month in unclear circumstances in a Siberian prison. 

Putin addressed those gathered at his campaign headquarters on Sunday by thanking them for their votes, while also singling out the country’s soldiers fighting in the war in Ukraine. 

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed Russia's election.

Shortly ahead of the elections, Ukraine began launching a series of drone strikes on Russian refineries, with two more strikes taking place over the weekend, during voting. 

So far, according to the Kyiv Post, citing the Security Services of Ukraine (SBU), Ukraine has successfully targeted 12 Russian oil refineries in recent weeks. 

The most recent attack took place on Sunday night, targeting an oil refinery in Slavyansk-on-Kuban in Russia’s Krasnodar Krai. At least one refinery worker was killed in the attack, according to Telegram channels and Russian media outlets. 

Ukraine has targeted a collection of Russian oil refineries that account for around 12% of Russia’s oil-processing capacity, according to Bloomberg–enough to make markets slightly nervous from a supply perspective.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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  • George Doolittle on March 18 2024 said:
    Crazy series of military defeats for Russia in a War that continues to expand against Russia and of course elsewhere in defiance of expectations and at great speed now as well. Not sure what happens if the WMD threats made by Russia are not made good on at this point as well as Russia doesn't really have a "deterrent" but in fact a war fighting nuclear arsenal. Presumably Europe wants to survive but no formal help for Ukraine from them as of yet. Long former Royal Dutch Shell strong buy. Short Barclays Bank strong sell.

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