Ukrainian kamikaze drones blew up Russia’s Slavyansk oil refinery in Krasnodar region

Ukraine allegedly attacked another oil refinery overnight, Russian authorities said on Sunday, in the latest of a series of assaults on Moscow’s oil facilities.

“Several” Ukrainian drones targeted the Slavyansk oil refinery in Russia’s southern Krasnodar region at around 3 a.m. local time (8 p.m. Saturday ET), local authorities reported on Sunday. A fire broke out at the facility as one of the drones fell from the sky, said local officials.

Kyiv has doubled down on its attacks on Russia’s key infrastructure, like its oil refineries, in the past few days. The damage to the Krasnodar facility rounds off a string of strikes, and is thought to be the sixth oil refinery struck in the past week, although Ukrainian media reports and Russian officials suggest the number of attempted strikes is likely higher.

The attacks appear to be intended to disrupt Russia’s oil production and its ability to wage war in Ukraine, and have coincided with presidential elections expected to sustain President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power for another six years. The elections are not considered free nor fair by the international community.

Each drone strike that “has disrupted the operation of some facilities over the last few weeks or months also disrupted the pace of the supply of fuels and lubricants to the occupying forces in Ukraine,” Andriy Yusov, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, told Ukrainian outlet, Ukrainska Pravda, on Friday.

In a follow-up statement on Sunday, local officials in Krasnodar said the fire had been completely extinguished, and that one person had died of a heart attack during the drone strike. Ukrainska Pravda, reported on Sunday that Kyiv’s security service, special forces and drone specialists in the country’s armed forces had attacked the Krasnodar plant.

Russia’s Defense Ministry did not mention an attack on the oil refinery in an update published early on Sunday, but said its defenses had intercepted 17 Ukrainian drones over the Krasnodar region overnight.

On Saturday, the local governor in Russia’s Samara region said two of its oil refineries were struck by drones. Uncrewed vehicles targeted the Novokuibyshevsk and Syzran refineries, with a fire breaking out at the Syzran facility, Gov. Dmitry Azarov said in a post to the Telegram messaging app. Ukrainian media reports suggested Kyiv targeted a third refinery, but this was not referenced by Russian officials.

On Friday, Reuters reported that Kyiv attacked an oil refinery in Russia’s Kaluga region, citing an intelligence source. Vladislav Shapsha, the district’s governor, said Russia’s air defenses had intercepted four drones over the region and that there were no casualties nor damage to infrastructure, but did not offer any further details.

On Wednesday, Ryazan regional Gov. Pavel Malkov, said an oil refinery in the region was on fire after a Ukrainian drone strike. Two people were injured, he later said.

Separately on Wednesday, Vasily Golubev, Rostov’s regional governor, said Russian electronic warfare systems had intercepted a Ukrainian drone over the Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery, temporarily stopping operations. The governor of Russia’s Leningrad region, Alexander Drozdenko, said on Telegram on Wednesday that a drone was intercepted heading towards an oil facility near the town of Kirishi.

On Tuesday, Russian officials reported a Ukrainian drone strike on an oil refinery in Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod region. Gov. Gleb Nikitin said that a fire had broken out at the installation, which was later extinguished.

The Norsi refinery in Nizhny Novgorod is Russia’s fourth largest, according to Reuters. The news agency reported that at least half of the facility’s production had been stopped, citing industry sources.

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