April 8, 2024

Institute for the Study of War:  Russia turns to Kazakhstan and Belarus for gas supplies after Ukraine attacks on Russian refineries

Institute for the Study of War

Ukrainian drone strikes against Russian oil refineries are reportedly forcing Russia to seek gasoline imports from Kazakhstan. Three unnamed industry sources told Reuters in an article published on April 8 that Russia asked Kazakhstan to establish an “emergency reserve” of 100,000 metric tons of gasoline that Kazakhstan could supply to Russia in case of shortages exacerbated by Ukrainian drone strikes and resulting refinery outages. One of the unnamed sources stated that Kazakhstan and Russia have already reached an agreement allowing Russia to use Kazakh gasoline reserves in some unspecified capacity. Advisor to the Kazakh Energy Minister Shyngys Ilyasov denied that the Kazakh Energy Ministry had received such requests from Russia, however. Reuters reported on April 2, citing its own data, that constant Ukrainian drone strikes have shut down about 14 percent of Russia’s overall oil refining capacity. Reuters also previously reported on March 27 that Russia has significantly increased its gasoline imports from Belarus following Ukrainian drone strikes on Russian oil refineries and that Russia has imported 3,000 metric tons of gasoline from Belarus in the first half of March as compared to 590 metric tons in February and no gasoline imports in January. Recent Russian efforts to import gasoline from Belarus and Kazakhstan indicate that Russia is likely increasingly concerned about the immediate domestic supply of distillate petroleum products following Ukrainian strikes on Russian oil refineries.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ukrainian drone strikes against Russian oil refineries are reportedly forcing Russia to seek gasoline imports from Kazakhstan.
  • Ukraine’s Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) indirectly suggested that it may have been responsible for an explosion that disabled a Russian Baltic Fleet small missile carrier at the naval base in Baltiysk, Kaliningrad Oblast on April 7.
  • Recent discourse among select Russian milbloggers highlights contradictory Russian rhetoric in the Russian information space between narratives that seek to portray Russian forces as more capable than Ukrainian forces and other narratives that seek to criticize the Russian military for shortcomings that result in high Russian infantry casualties.
  • The Kremlin-affiliated governor of the pro-Russian Moldova autonomous region of Gagauzia, Yevgenia Gutsul, insinuated that Romanian officials control the Moldovan government — the latest in a series of recent Kremlin efforts to question European pro-Western governments’ sovereignty.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Kreminna, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Donetsk City.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the Russian Cabinet of Ministers and Russian machine construction company KONAR JSC to increase the production of components for the domestic machine tools industry, likely as part of ongoing efforts to expand the Russian defense industrial base (DIB) and mitigate the effects of international sanctions.

For full report:  https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-april-8-2024 

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