More drastic fuel changes are piling up. After being heavily reliant on fuel imports from Russia and Belarus, Ukraine is currently completely dependent on fuel imports from the West. This dependence will likely continue even after the war concludes, posing a further challenge for European suppliers.
Prior to the war, Ukraine was highly dependent on Russia and Belarus for imports of road fuels, particularly diesel and LPG. Imports from Belarus and Russia accounted for a significant amount of the total sent to Ukraine.
Over the last two months, Russia has recognized and targeted this vulnerability, cutting off fuel supplies as well as destroying Ukraine’s only remaining refinery at Kremenchug and various fuel depots across the country.
Ukrainian throughput has been limited for nearly a decade, with the Kremenchug refinery accounting for the vast majority of runs. Kremenchug was destroyed by Russian shelling in April, leaving Ukraine with virtually no refining capacity.
With its main sources of fuel imports cut off and Russian targeting of key fuel storage depots, Ukraine has become dependent on imports from Western countries, particularly Poland, to cover its deficit.
Ukraine’s fuel demand is relatively small in aggregate, but covering supply in the short term may be challenging. Facing their own diesel crunch, European suppliers to Ukraine will also have to work around bottlenecks in logistics and transportation.