In the early hours of 18 January, Ukrainian drones attacked an oil depot in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg. Citing its sources in the security services, Ukrainska Pravda reported that this was a special operation carried out by Ukrainian military intelligence.
Attacks by Ukrainian drones on targets in Russia have been occurring nearly daily, however most strikes have targeted border regions adjacent to Ukraine. The attack on Saint Petersburg, located 900 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, demonstrates Kyiv’s capability of conducting strikes with long-range drones.
“This was an operation by Ukraine’s Chief Intelligence Directorate using advanced Ukrainian equipment. Data collection is ongoing, with confirmed target hits. From now on, military sites in Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast are within range of Ukrainian forces,” a Ukrainian intelligence source told the outlet.
The source also specified that while Ukrainian drones have attacked Russia’s Leningrad Oblast before, this operation was markedly different.
On 18 January, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported an attack by Ukrainian drones in Leningrad Oblast, claiming the drones had been shot down. However, influential Russian Telegram-channel Baza reported that while three Ukrainian drones were downed, two fell into the Gulf of Finland, while a third crashed onto the territory of the oil depot between fuel oil tanks, causing a fire.
The Saint Petersburg Oil Terminal opened in 1996 on the site of the Leningrad Port’s Oil Harbor. It is Russia’s largest oil products transshipment terminal in the Baltic region (with a capacity of 12.5 million tonnes per year), as well as the largest stevedoring company at the Port of Saint Petersburg.