Oil Prices Soar After Putin Hints Russia Is Ready To Use Nuclear Force


Oil prices soared Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin hinted Russia is ready to use nuclear force to hold onto its territory in Ukraine.

In a televised address, Putin also said Moscow is calling up more troops to join the forces in Ukraine, via a partial mobilization of 300,000 reservists with military experience.

“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to defend Russia and our people, we will use all means we have. This is not a bluff,” Putin said in his address to the nation, according a translation by the BBC.

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“The territorial integrity of our motherland, our independence and freedom will be secured, I repeat, with all the means we have.

“Those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the prevailing winds can turn in their direction.”

Brent crude futures, the global benchmark, added 2.57% to $92.95 a barrel as of 5:30 a.m. ET. WTI crude, the US benchmark, surged 2.08% to trade at $86.21 a barrel. 

Russia’s war with Ukraine has irritated global oil markets, as Western allies imposed sanctions and bans on Moscow and its energy exports. Brent crude soared above $120 a barrel in early March, not long after Russia began its invasion.

JP Morgan said oil could shoot past $150 a barrel as demand outpaces supply. That’s partly because companies haven’t invested enough in future production, raising the prospect of a major supply deficit ahead. 

Meanwhile, investors are closely watching if the Federal Reserve will make another outsized interest-rate hike of 75 basis points after its two-day meeting later Wednesday. Oil prices have been weighed down by concerns the Fed’s aggressive monetary policy could trigger a recession, which would hurt demand.