Happy Friday! No April Fool’s Day joke from us this morning. We value your trust too much to toy with you like that, Dear Reader. (Okay, okay, we couldn’t think of one.)
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
President Joe Biden announced Thursday that his administration will release up to 180 million barrels of oil from the United States’ Strategic Petroleum Reserve over the next six months, the largest such drawdown in history. He also called on Congress to pass legislation imposing fees on oil and gas companies not making full use of their leases on federal lands. U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices fell 7 percent on the news.
Reuters reported Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order drafting 134,500 new conscripts into the Russian army, a move the Kremlin claimed was routine and unrelated to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. “Most military personnel will undergo professional training in training centers for three to five months,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said. “Let me emphasize that recruits will not be sent to any hot spots.”
After plunging nearly 70 percent in response to Western sanctions, the value of Russia’s ruble has nearly returned to pre-war levels thanks to rising oil and gas prices and stringent Bank of Russia restrictions on currency exchanges and withdrawals. The rebound is partially artificial because of those constraints, but many sanctions experts believe there remains “a lot of room for escalation.”