Russia has suffered a night of hell with Ukrainian kamikaze drone strikes on a major missile factory and gas plant.
Two huge explosions erupted at the strategically-important Novatek plant near St Petersburg, triggering a raging inferno.
Footage shows the facility with flames shooting into the sky.
One witness said: “When it exploded, the earth trembled.”
A Ukrainian official also claimed there was a hit on the Shcheglovsky Val defence enterprise in Tula.
It produces the Pantsir-S and Pantsir-S1 air defence missile systems used to defend key sites including Vladimir Putin’s palaces.
There were also Ukrainian strikes on Smolensk, Oryol and Bryansk regions, in one of Kyiv’s most intense nights of the war in attacking military-linked targets inside Russia.
Some 150 people were evacuated from the Kremlin-linked Novatek natural gas and coal terminal near St Petersburg as the facility was hit by two incoming kamikaze drones.
These had evaded Russian air defences flying across Putin’s territory for some three hours in an astonishing lapse.
The port is some 550 miles from the nearest Ukrainian border.
“The plant is located in the coastal zone, next to a specialised terminal where products and gas condensate itself are loaded onto ships and sent for export,” reported the pro-war Two Majors Telegram channel.
“At the time of the explosion, three large tankers were at the berths, which arrived in Ust-Luga from Belgium, Oman and Libya.”
Panama-flagged ships were loading nearby, reported Fontanka.
“There are no reported casualties as a result of a fire at Novatek’s terminal in the port of Ust-Luga,” said Leningrad region governor Alexander Drozdenko.
“The personnel were evacuated, [and] a high alert regime has been introduced in the Kingisepp district.”
Locals reported two drones in the sky ahead of the strike on the Novatek facility.
The company’s major shareholder is Putin-friendly Leonid Mikhelson, 68, who last year saw a £2 billion-plus jump in his wealth – now standing at £21.5 billion.
The drones were said to be headed towards St Petersburg before changing direction to target the Ust-Luga complex.
An eyewitness said: “****ing hell, I’ve just witnessed an explosion.
“Something serious [happened] there.”
“Look, it’s getting bigger and bigger.”
Ukraine staged its first major attack of the war on port facilities around St Petersburg earlier this week, without causing significant damage.
The missile plant in Tula is some 200 miles from the Ukrainian border.
Footage showed at least one giant explosion at what was reported to be the key Russian defence facility.
Russia claimed to have downed a drone but footage showed a clear explosion on the ground.
Ukrainian official Anton Gerashchenko posted: “In Tula, according to local residents, there was a powerful visit to the Shcheglovsky Val defence enterprise, which produces the Pantsir-S and Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft missile systems, and also modernises various armoured vehicles.”
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