More Russian Oil Refineries Are Attacked by Ukrainian Drones

image is BloomburgMedia_SAFGUFDWX2PS00_17-03-2024_05-00-12_638462304000000000.jpg

An instructor prepares to launch a Punisher Drone manufactured by UA Dynamics, which provides free training for operators and free shells to clients, during a test flight on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Feb. 9, 2023. A vast donor network in Ukraine has blossomed during a year of war to supply soldiers with everything from boots to battle tanks, in some respects, the support has been as important to Ukraine's survival against Russia’s invading forces as aid from the US and Europe. Photographer: Julia Kochetova/Bloomberg

More Russian oil refineries were attacked by drones, the latest in a series of strikes on energy facilities, many of them deep within Russia. 

The strikes on Saturday were targeted at plants in Russia’s Samara region, more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from the Ukrainian border. 

A petroleum product processing unit caught fire on the territory of the Rosneft PJSC oil refinery in Syzran, RIA Novosti reported, citing Dmitry Azarov, the region’s governor. The plant’s design capacity is 8.5 million barrels per year or about 170,000 barrels per day.

Another drone attack occurred on the Slavyansk-on-Kuban oil refinery in the southern Russian region of Krasnodar, Agence France-Presse reported Sunday, citing local authorities. A fire caused by the hit has been extinguished, and one person died of a suspected heart attack, the report said.

An attempt to strike a second refinery in Novokuibyshevsk was thwarted, the governor said.

Ukraine targeted a third plant in the region overnight, the large Kuibyshev refinery, according to a person familiar with the operation who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. 

The extent of any damage was unclear, and Russian officials have made no reference to the Kuibyshev facility. 

Ukraine has unleashed a flurry of attacks on Russian oil processing facilities ahead of elections that will hand Vladimir Putin a fifth presidential term. Voting ends Sunday. 

Russia’s Drone-Attacked Oil Refineries: What You Need to Know

Officials in Kyiv have said the intent is to damage a key industry that provides revenue for Russia’s war, and to disrupt domestic fuel supplies. 

Russian oil-processing rates increased to the highest level in almost two months before recent drone attacks targeted several plants.

The area of the fire in Syzran reached 500 square meters (5,380 square feet). Workers were evacuated and there were no casualties, Russian media reported, citing the press service of Syzran’s administration and operational service.

Separately, Russia’s defense ministry said it thwarted attempts by “subversive groups” to penetrate the Belgorod region from the adjacent Sumy region of Ukraine. 

Two people were killed in Belgorod by Ukrainian shelling, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a Telegram post. 

Following the attacks schools in the city of Belgorod and the surrounding region will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, and shopping malls will be closed on Sunday and Monday, Gladkov said. Parents whose children go to kindergartens are asked to keep them at home until Tuesday. 

In Ukraine, the death toll from a Russian missile strike on the Black Sea city of Odesa early Friday rose to 21 overnight, according to local governor Oleh Kiper. 

Kremlin forces have stepped up attacks on the city, key port for grain and commodity exports, hitting it regularly with drones or missiles. 

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk tweeted about the Odesa strike at a time $60 billion in funding to send more military assistance to Ukraine in held up in the US Congress. 

(Updates with new attack in fourth paragraph.)

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

By Bloomberg News


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