Drone Breaks Russian Defenses & Hits Critical Oil Refinery

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“A video reportedly showing the moment that a drone caused a large explosion at an oil refinery in southern Russia has surfaced on social media,” the Kyiv Post, a Ukrainian publication, reports.

The refinery in question is in Novoshakhtinsk, which is in Russia’s Ukraine-bordering Rostov region. Vasily Golubev, who’s governor of the Rostov region, indicated that “two unidentified drones struck the refinery and crashed there,” as The Telegraph summarized it. No casualties have been reported, although the refinery has been temporarily shut down amid an apparent investigation by authorities into what occurred. The Telegraph, a U.K. publication, reports the incident to have been filmed by Russian workers at the refinery. It does not appear as though there’s been any Ukrainian claim of responsibility for the Novoshakhtinsk incident, which left the refinery up in flames for hours.

Sergei Filippov, who leads emergency response efforts in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, indicated more than 50 personnel with a dozen vehicles spent nearly three hours on extinguishing the fire. According to a statement from an official at the refinery, the first drone hit the premises at 8:40 a.m. local time, while the next struck at 9:23 a.m. According to a refinery worker quoted by local news outlet 161.ru, “it was only after the second explosion that the evacuation from the plant began,” as The Telegraph summarizes what that apparent worker relayed.

Recently, “the pro-Russian head of the Crimea region said on June 20 that Ukrainian forces had attacked drilling platforms in the Black Sea owned by a Crimean oil and gas company,” Reuters reported, but Ukrainian forces apparently also declined to confirm having actually carried out that strike. Operational security could, of course, be at issue. Ukrainian officials have, however, taken credit for killing over 34,000 Russian soldiers and counting, although confirming these numbers is obviously difficult at this juncture of the war. Ukrainian forces were also recently reported to be continuing to target Russian military personnel and assets assembled on Zmiinyi Island, also known as Snake Island. Russia seized that island from Ukraine earlier in the conflict.

“Our troops are doing their job and if there is no warning of threat, everything is being done just right,” Natalia Humeniuk, Chief of the Joint Coordination Press Office of the Security and Defense Forces in the South of Ukraine, said. “The massive blow was inflicted as various forces were employed. We aren’t revealing all of them as the enemy’s also listening to and reading us. Therefore, the strike inflicted some damage. We see and understand that the enemy cluster of personnel and equipment has been defeated. We already know that the Pantsir anti-aircraft missile system was very badly damaged, possibly completely destroyed, we know that the radar station was very badly damaged, and there are other enemy losses that we’re verifying to take into account. The operation is underway and I think we will deliver a follow-up really soon.” Russian military officials have been lowering recruitment standards and sending new recruits to the front lines with no more than a week of training amid heavy losses on their side.