Powerful Russian Oil Company Tells Putin To Cease Ukraine Attack

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Lukoil, Russia’s second-largest oil company, has gotten behind calls to end the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has claimed the lives of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and — according to authorities in Ukraine, at least — thousands of Russian soldiers as well. Ret. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman recently suggested that the impact of these apparently numerous Russian deaths in Ukraine was poised to decrease support for the Putin regime, as the families with lost loved ones that were sent to war by the authoritarian leader grapple with the losses. The Lukoil board of directors stated in a message to shareholders, staff members (of which there are some 100,000), and customers that it was “calling for the soonest termination of the armed conflict.” The board added as follows:

‘We express our sincere empathy for all victims, who are affected by this tragedy. We strongly support a lasting ceasefire and a settlement of problems through serious negotiations and diplomacy.’

Unlike Russia’s largest oil company, Rosneft, Lukoil appears to be privately operated, meaning it’s not a government-owned business. CNN notes that Lukoil “now faces huge challenges as traders shun Russian crude for fear of running afoul of Western sanctions even though they do not directly target fossil fuel exports” — for now. There has been pressure to more directly target Russian energy production with the economic counter-measures that have been imposed in response to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. According to journalist Kaitlan Collins, relaying information from a Senator who participated in a Saturday call with the leader, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “advocated for banning Russian oil imports,” but there have been concerns about potential impacts on energy prices around the world. In the meantime, Lukoil stock shares listed for trading in London have lost almost the entirety of their value since the beginning of the conflict, and trading the company’s shares has now been suspended there.

Anti-war protests have been seen in Russia — but there have also been thousands of arrests of demonstrators participating in these shows of opposition to the conflict. Relatedly, Russian authorities have now approved jail terms that are as high as 15 years for spreading willfully so-called fake news regarding the country’s military — although obviously, the Russian regime’s conclusions regarding what’s fake or not aren’t certainly going to line up with documented reality. Advocating for unapproved public action is also punishable under the newly approved Russian legal provisions, meaning that pushing for further protests could lead to strict consequences imposed by Putin’s government. As for the conflict’s progression, Russia and Ukraine agreed on so-called humanitarian corridors to allow for the evacuation of civilians from certain areas in Ukraine, but Russian forces didn’t abide by the cease-fire agreements providing for these hoped for evacuations.