Ukraine claimed it has struck a major Russian-controlled oil depot as a train carrying ammunition and fuel in occupied territory also exploded in a suspected sabotage attack.
Dramatic scenes unfolded after a huge blast and fire at the oil facility in the occupied Donetsk region following intense shelling.
The exploded oil was intended for use by Russian troops, local reports claimed.
There were four large oil tanks at the facility in the Budennovsky district.
“It is difficult to assess the damage to the oil depot, but extensive fire indicates damage to the reservoir or underground storage,” said a military Telegram channel report.
In a separate incident, pro-Kyiv partisans also blew up a train used to carry fuel and ammunition from annexed Crimea to Melitopol and Dniprorudne, both in the Zaporizhzhia region.
On its return journey, the train was used to convey ore, grain and damaged equipment from the temporarily occupied territories.
“As a result of the controlled explosion, the railway and a locomotive with wagons were damaged,” said the Ukrainian centre of national resistance.
“The explosion itself happened at 8am. The occupiers have surrounded the place of the explosion and are searching the surrounding area.”
“Thanks to the heroes of the underground, the train finally completed its movement.”
A collage paid tribute to the partisans seen as responsible for disrupting Putin’s grip on occupied territories.
This was the 11th alleged sabotage attack this year on Russian trains linked to Vladimir Putin’s war, said the Ukrainians.
“The current sabotage is far from the last,” said a statement.
Russia has not admitted to losing the key rail link.
It comes after a Russian fighter pilot barely escaped death after a rocket launcher fired into the sky as an Su-25 warplane flew overhead.
Extraordinary footage captured the hair-raising moment the Putin fighter flew at a low altitude and was nearly struck – by his own side.
The 13-second clip showed one rocket launch from a small machine on the ground, followed by many others fired in quick succession.
Miraculously, the Su-25 managed to escape the relentless rockets and continue flying.
Pro-war telegram channel Two Majors said: “Our warriors are people of unbridled courage.”
It is unclear where exactly the plane – a subsonic, single-seat, twin-engine Su-25 – was nearly hit in the Russia-Ukraine warzone.
Meanwhile, European Union leaders have agreed to open membership negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has described it as a “victory for Ukraine” and a “victory for all of Europe” as the decision was announced by the president of the European Council, Charles Michel.
Zelensky tweeted: “This is a victory for Ukraine. A victory for all of Europe. A victory that motivates, inspires, and strengthens.”
The announcement came as a surprise to Hungary, however, as the country has been vowing to block such a decision at a two-day meeting in Brussels, Sky News reported.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has since described it as a “bad decision”.
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