Ukrainian drone hits Russia’s third-biggest refinery, damage not critical By Reuters

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By Guy Faulconbridge and Vladimir Soldatkin

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Ukrainian drone struck Russia’s third largest oil refinery on Tuesday 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) from the frontline, hitting a unit that produces about 155,000 barrels a day, although an economic source said the strike had not taken place. great damage.

A Ukrainian intelligence official said Ukraine hit the first oil refinery in Russia’s most industrialized Tatarstan region and started a fire. Such attacks are aimed at reducing Russian oil revenues, the source said.

Russian officials say the explosive device was intercepted by a Ukrainian drone near Tatneft’s Taneco refinery, which produces more than 17 million tons a year (340,000 barrels a day).

Images from the site showed that the drone had hit the refinery unit, CDU-7, although it did not appear to cause significant damage.

A company source, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said workers were returning to the factory.

The fire was extinguished within 20 minutes, state news agency RIA reported, adding that the output was not disrupted.

The affected sector accounts for almost half of the total energy produced annually. The refinery represents about 6.2% of Russia’s refining capacity.

It briefly rose above $89 a barrel for the first time since October amid concerns over Ukraine drone attacks and escalating tensions in the Middle East. [O/R]

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy did not directly mention the attack on Tatarstan, but said Kyiv’s long-range war against Russia was important.

“What is also important is that Russian terrorists are receiving answers to their attacks,” he said in his late-night address. “Each time, longer answers.”

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A Ukrainian intelligence source said Ukrainian-made drones also hit a Russian plant that produces long-range Shahed drones, causing “massive damage”.

The Washington Post reported last year that Russia was mass-producing drones at a factory in Tatarstan.

Ukraine in recent months has launched attacks on oil facilities in Russia, the world’s second-largest oil exporter, which has affected Moscow’s lucrative trade in refined products, amid heavy Russian missile strikes on Ukraine’s power grid.

According to Reuters calculations, about 14% of Russia’s oil refineries have been shut down by drone attacks. There is more demand for refined oil than for Russian oil.

The attack on Russian factories has raised concerns in Washington about the possibility of escalation with Russia.

Ukraine says its drone attacks on Russia are justified because it is fighting for its survival and has been damaged by Russian drone attacks.

Ukraine, which has claimed to have been attacked by more than 4,630 Russian long-range Shahed drones during the 25-month-long war, sees its push to develop drones as a way to retaliate against a bigger, better-armed enemy.

Ever since President Vladimir Putin sent Russian troops into Ukraine in 2022, drones have played a major role in the war – either as “kamikaze” attackers or as eyes in the air that guide other weapons to kill soldiers or destroy weapons.

Ukraine has carried out numerous threats inside Russia aimed at disrupting the Russian military or, as was the case in 2023 in the Kremlin, bringing the reality of war to the heart of Russia.

Putin’s powerful allies said on Tuesday that NATO was fighting Russia in Ukraine and that the US-led coalition had helped organize protests on Russian territory.

When asked if Russia thinks the United States is involved in Russian oil threats, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that the question was properly answered by the Ministry of Defense and Security.

“Kyiv’s regime continues its terrorist activities,” Peskov said. “We and our military are working to reduce this threat, and eliminate it.”

Ukrainian sources say Kyiv alone is responsible for planning and executing drone strikes in Russia. The United States has said it does not support Ukrainian rebels inside Russia.

Tuesday’s attack also affected businesses in Yelabuga and Nizhnekamsk and some people were injured, Tatarstan regional governor Rustam Minnikhanov said.

Two drones hit a residential area in the Alabuga Special Economic Zone and at least seven people were injured, Russian media reported.

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