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Video Shows Fire Engulf Russian Refinery as Air Defenses Questioned


Ukrainian drone attacks on oil depots acknowledged by Russians have damaged facilities, sending fireballs into the night sky, video shows.

Although it does not often claim direct responsibility for them, Ukraine has been hitting energy infrastructure on Russian territory in UAV strikes which have been stepped up in recent months, impacting Moscow’s war machine.

The latest reported attacks occurred overnight Friday in the southern Krasnodar region, which borders Ukraine, according to regional authorities cited by Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti.

Ukrainian drone operator
A Ukrainian drone pilot prepares kamikaze drones. Ukrainian drones have reportedly hit oil facilities in Russia’s Krasnodar region on July 5, 2024.

Kostiantyn Liberov/Getty Images

Fragments of a downed drone caused a fire at one fuel storage tank in Pavlov, while there was another fire at an oil depot in Leningrad, said RIA. A communications tower was also reportedly damaged in the village of Eisk, due to another drone downed.

Video posted on social media showed the aftermath of the strikes, with flames and smoke billowing into the air in one clip from Leningrad. Ukrainian interior ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko shared video that had been posted by the Russian military blogger Romanov.

“Judging by the footage he published, no air defense work could be heard in the background,” Gerashchenko wrote. “‘Everything is fine,” he says as the oil depot starts burning. In this case, I do agree,” added the post.

A firefighter posted video of the scene in the daytime which was shared by the Astra Telegram channel. “This is what our weekends are like now,” the unnamed firefighter said, “no one knows when this will end.”

Independent Russian media outlet Meduza noted how the Russian Ministry of Defense did not refer to attacks on Krasnodar but did claim that air defense systems over Russia’s border regions of Kursk and Belgorod had destroyed eight drones from “terrorist attacks” attempted by Kyiv.

Krasnodar’s governor Veniamin Kondratyev claimed that a drone attack on the city of Primorsko-Akhtarsk killed a six-year-old girl and injured at least five others.

Newsweek has contacted the Ukrainian and Russian defense ministries for comment.

Meanwhile, Russia continues to use drones to strike at Ukrainian energy infrastructure. An overnight attack on Friday caused explosions in Sumy Oblast shortly after midnight, leaving several communities in the region without power, according to the local military administration.

Earlier in the night, local officials said that a Russian drone attack temporarily cut off power to the local water system and disrupted the water supply.

Ukraine’s Air Force said its air defense shot down 24 out of the 27 Shahed-type attack drones launched by Russia overnight from occupied Crimea, as well as Russia’s Kursk Oblast.