Ukraine launches its biggest drone attack on Russian Rosneft’s fourth-largest oil refinery

Ukraine appears to have conducted its largest-ever drone strike against Russia, causing a massive fire to break out at an oil refinery hundreds of miles behind the front line.

The Russian defence ministry claimed early on Friday that its forces had downed 102 aerial drones and destroyed six more unmanned naval vessels in the heavy Ukrainian bombardment against Black Sea targets.

However, unverified footage shared by Russian social media accounts appeared to show a Ukrainian drone smashing into Russia’s Tuapse oil refinery in the southern region of Krasnodar Krai.

When the unmanned aerial vehicle crashes into the site, a fire can already be seen raging at the facility, which is Russian oil giant Rosneft’s fourth-largest refinery.

Local authorities confirmed the strike on the plant, saying “as a result of the fall” of one of the two drones, “an explosion occurred on the territory of the refinery”.

Fires also broke out in the port city of Novorossiysk, northwest of Tuapse, as fuel depots were attacked.

Russian sources shared footage of what appeared to be burning fuel depots at the port’s main railway terminal.

Other unverified videos appeared to show the strikes on the port city – which has become the home to the Russian navy’s Black Sea Fleet because of Ukrainian attacks on Crimea – continuing as day broke over the coastal city.

In April, Russian officials claimed to have shot down 50 drones after Ukraine launched a major attack.

Prof Damien Ernst, an energy expert at the Belgian University of Liege, said the attack on Friday morning was the first time Ukraine had targeted the oil facilities in Novorossiysk.

The port is a major exporter of oil, with an estimated 1.5 million barrels passing through each day, meaning the strikes could significantly impact Russia’s oil industry.

Despite US objections, Ukraine has steadily ramped up its long-range attacks on the Russian oil industry in recent months in a bid to drive fuel prices up and limit supplies to the front line of their war.

Astra, a Russian Telegram news channel, reported that the Ukrainian attacks early on Friday extended to a Gazprom oil depot in the nearby village of Kirilovka and the Transneft-owned oil depot in Grushovaya Balka.

The outlet wrote that residents were ordered to stay indoors, with public transport services suspended and city traffic blocked.

Schools across Sevastopol, the city in occupied Crimea, were shut after an electricity substation was hit in the attack.

Mikhail Razvozhaev, the Russian governor of the city, said there would be rolling blackouts because of power shortages while repairs were carried out on the substation.

Internet connectivity in Sevastopol fell to about 16 per cent, according to monitoring group NetBlocks.

It was the third Ukrainian attack against the port city in two days.

On Thursday, Russian authorities reported Ukrainian missile attacks on the Belbek military airbase outside of Sevastopol.

Satellite images taken by Maxar Technologies appeared to show that two Mig-31 and one SU-27 fighter jets were destroyed in the strikes, which was believed to have been carried out with US-supplied Atacms missiles.

Atesh, a group of pro-Kyiv partisans in the area, said the main missile and artillery depots at the airbase were damaged.

The long-range barrages came as Ukrainian forces struggle to contain a new Russian offensive in the north-eastern Kharkiv region.

Volodmyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, said his forces had “stabilised” the new front lines as of Friday, a week after he first confirmed the Russian cross-border offensive.

He told journalists that Russian forces had advanced six miles into the region since launching the attack.

But Gen Oleksandr Syrsky, the Ukrainian commander-in-chief, warned: “We understand that there will be tough battles ahead and the enemy is preparing for it.”

He also said the fighting could soon stretch to the northern Sumy region, which borders Belarus, as Moscow seeks to stretch Ukraine’s reserves.

In a boost for Kyiv’s battle-stricken forces, Mr Zelensky said on Friday that his men had enough artillery shells for the first time in the war.

The supplies are likely a result of American aid arriving in the country after Washington signed off on a $60 billion aid package last month.

© 2024, GDC. © GDC and Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.