Defense Sec Austin says Ukraine should prioritize military targets over attacking Russian refineries
Lloyd Austin (Photo: EPA, MAST IRHAM)

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin believes that the Ukrainian military should focus on striking Russian targets that "can directly influence the current fight" rather than attacking oil refineries on enemy territory, reports Bloomberg.

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"Those attacks could have a knock-on effect in terms of the global energy situation. Ukraine is better served in going after tactical and operational targets that can directly influence the current fight," he said.

The head of the Pentagon also called on Congress to approve additional military aid to Ukraine and emphasized that such aid would also help increase defense production in the United States itself as this money would help the defense industry.

Austin's statement about the refineries was condemned by Republican Senator Tom Cotton, who accused the White House of obstructing Ukraine's effective actions due to political considerations.

"It sounds to me that the Biden administration doesn’t want gas prices to go up in an election year," he said.

After a series of strikes by Ukrainian drones on oil refineries in the Russian Federation , gasoline production fell. In three weeks of March, Russian oil refineries reduced the output of automobile gasoline by 10%.

On April 2, 2024, a Ukrainian drone hit the primary oil processing facility at the refinery in Nizhnekamsk (Tatarstan), after which a fire broke out there.

Strikes by Ukrainian drones caused damage to Russia's oil refining infrastructure, knocking out 10-15% of its capacities.