Oil soared past $100 per barrel for the first time in years as Russian forces further escalated a conflict with Ukraine.
A series of Associated Press videos posted on TIME’s twitter page early this morning showed bombs dropping across Ukraine during the early hours.
A separate post on TIME’s twitter page earlier today showed a televised address by Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which he said he decided to conduct a “special military operation” after the “Donbas’s People’s Republic asked for help from Russia”. Its goal was said by Putin to be “the protection of people, who, during eight years, suffered from abuse and genocide from the Kyiv regime”.
Following Russia’s latest actions, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a decree on the imposition of martial law in Ukraine. The decision was said to have been made “due to the military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, on the basis of the proposal of the National Security and Defense Council and in accordance with Ukrainian law”.
A separate statement on the Ukraine President’s website described Russia’s actions as an “unjustified, deceitful and cynical invasion”.
In a White House statement, U.S. President Joe Biden said, “the prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine … as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces”.
“President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way,” Biden added in the statement.
“The world will hold Russia accountable,” Biden went on to say.
In a press statement today, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, “early this morning, Russian forces invaded Ukraine, a free and sovereign country”.
“Once again, in the center of Europe, innocent women, men and children are dying or fear for their lives. We condemn this barbaric attack, and the cynical arguments used to justify it,” von der Leyen added in the statement.
“President Putin is responsible for bringing war back to Europe. In these dark hours, the European Union stands together with Ukraine and its people. What we are facing is an unprecedented act of aggression by the Russian leadership against a sovereign, independent country,” the EC President continued.
“Russia’s target is not just Donbass, the target is not just Ukraine, the target is stability in Europe and the whole international rules-based order. For that, we will hold Russia accountable,” von der Leyen went on to say.
Oil Bursts Through $100 Per Barrel Mark
The price of Brent crude oil rose well above $103 per barrel following Russia’s latest actions. At the time of writing, the commodity is hovering around the mid-$102 per barrel mark. The price of West Texas Intermediate also hovered around the $98 per barrel mark after Russia’s actions. At the time of writing, it is trading in the low-$97 per barrel region.
This time last year, Brent was trading around the $66 per barrel mark and WTI was trading around the $63 per barrel mark.
On Wednesday, Walid Koudmani, the chief market analyst at financial brokerage XTB, highlighted that there was every chance we could see Brent oil prices above $100 soon, depending on Russia’s response to economic sanctions.
Natural gas is also up more than six percent at the time of writing to $4.92. This time last year, the commodity was trading at around $2.7.