Brent and West Texas Intermediate crudes rose to five-week highs as tension escalated between Ukraine and Russia, the world’s biggest energy exporter. Brent’s premium to WTI widened for the first time in seven days.
Brent crude advanced as escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia, the world’s biggest energy exporter, offset the potential for increased Libyan supply. West Texas Intermediate traded between gains and losses.
Western nations probably won’t impose energy export-related sanctions on Russia amid escalating tensions in Ukraine as Europe has little alternative to Russian gas, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc.
Russia and the U.S. traded barbs at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council as a deadline passed for pro-Russian separatists to leave buildings they occupied amid escalating violence in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine and its backers won support from little more than half the members of the United Nations General Assembly to declare invalid Crimea’s referendum to secede, as Russia wielded diplomatic and economic pressure for members to abstain or cast no ballot.
Russia justified its intervention in the Crimea as a legitimate response to a request from Ukraine’s ousted president amid threats posed by extremists, while Western leaders sought to keep the standoff from spiraling into war.
Crimean lawmakers called a referendum to return Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula to its former Soviet-era master as the European Union halted trade and visa talks with Russia to protest the Kremlin’s moves in the region.