The US Department of State said it “[does] not encourage or support Ukraine taking strikes outside its own territory” in a press briefing on Tuesday, March 26.

The official statement followed a Financial Times (FT) article on March 22 that alleged the Biden administration to have relayed wishes to Ukraine’s intelligence units to halt their drone strikes on oil refineries in fear of rising crude prices and retaliatory actions that might affect the upcoming US presidential election.

The article cited comments from unnamed officials, whose identity Kyiv Post was unable to verify.

Matthew Miller, spokesperson for the US Department of State, reiterated Washington’s official position during yesterday’s press briefing and said he wouldn’t comment on “specific conversations” following a reporter’s question on the FT article.

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Miller also added that it’s a “longtime policy” that Kyiv is aware of.

“I’m not going to speak to specific conversations, but this has been our longtime policy that we have made clear to the Ukrainian Government, so it’s not something that they would – of which they would be unaware,” said Miller.

The US has long maintained the stance that its weapons not be used to strike within Russian territories in fear of escalation, though it also said that it is up to Ukraine to decide how it chooses to defend itself.

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However, the recent oil refinery strikes were carried out by domestically produced drones in Ukraine, which presumably falls outside of the discussion.

Miller’s refusal to elaborate on the FT report and deny the claims also further fuels the speculation that the Biden administration did in fact ask Kyiv to stop striking Russian oil refineries.

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