Brent Ticks Up As Pro-Russian Rebels Get Bolder
Rising tension in Ukraine helped keep Brent crude oil above $110 over the weekend as investors worried about a supply interruption from Russia.
The commodity traded at $110.04 at 7:30 GMT as investors carefully monitored the deteriorating relationship between Russia and the West.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the US and the EU are in the process of preparing new sanctions against Russia as President Vladimir Putin has refused to comply with the terms outlined in the Geneva accord.
On Sunday, pro-Russian separatists occupying some of Ukraine’s eastern cities proved that had taken Western military inspectors hostage by parading them for the world to see. The rebels also released pictures of Ukrainian intelligence officers who had been beaten.
The incident sharply contrasts with the Kremlin’s description of the protesters involved in the uprising. So far, Moscow has said those involved in the protests are everyday “citizens driven to desperation”.
In response to the hostage situation, Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said it will take measures to try to alleviate the situation, but largely blamed the Ukrainian government for inviting the inspectors to the conflicted area.
The escalating conflict has boosted prices as the risk of interruption coupled with increased fuel demand for military use has created supply worries. Though most don’t expect that Russia will use its oil for political leverage, the possibility is enough to keep a floor below prices.
Also strengthening Brent prices are complications in Libya as the nation attempts to restart its oil exports after an eight month blockade.
Though the nation’s Zueitina port has been returned to the government by the rebels who were occupying it, the port is having some difficulty restarting due to damages suffered after the blockade.
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