The war in Georgia escalated dangerously last night after Russian jets reportedly bombed a vital pipeline that supplies oil to the West.
After a day of heightening international tensions, Georgian leaders claimed that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which transports oil from the Caspian Sea to Turkey, had been attacked. But it is thought the bombs missed their target.
Their claims came after Russian jets struck deep into the territory of its tiny neighbour, killing civilians and `completely devastating’ the strategic Black Sea port of Poti, a staging post for oil and other energy supplies.
Reports last night also said that Russia had bombed the international airport in Tbilisi.
Georgian economic development minister Ekaterina Sharashidzne said: `This clearly shows that Russia has targeted not just Georgian economic outlets but international economic outlets as well.’
The pipeline is 30 per cent owned by BP and supplies 1 per cent of the world’s oil needs, pumping up to a million barrels of crude per day to Turkey.
If anything threatens the recent price decreases in oil, this will do it. And considering just how much of Russia’s economy depends on oil selling at a princely sum, I have to think that the Russians knew precisely what they were doing here.