In the early hours of 21 January, explosions and a large fire broke out at the Novatek natural gas company terminal in the Ust-Luga port in Russia’s Leningrad Oblast, local governor Alexander Drozdenko said on Telegram.
The Ust-Luga port handles crude oil and liquefied natural gas exports. Novatek, Russia’s largest independent natural gas producer, operates the facility. In September 2023, the United States broadened its sanctions to target entities linked to Russia’s Arctic LNG 2, Novatek’s project.
According to Drozdenko, there were no casualties. However, “all the personnel” at the facility have been evacuated.
Drozdenko said on social media that “in the Kingiseppsky district of the oblast, a regime of increased readiness was introduced.”
Residents reported hearing drone sounds in the area before the incident. The Russian Defense Ministry has not yet commented on what happened at the Ust-Luga port.
Marine traffic monitoring services indicate approximately five tankers flying the flags of Panama, Gabon, Greece, and Liberia were near the terminal at the time of the fire. The governor did not specify the cause of the fire but posted a five-second video clip showing large flames.
The Ukrainian government has not yet commented on Russia’s Ust-Luga port explosions.
On 18 January, Ukrainian drones attacked an oil depot in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg, Leningrad Oblast. Ukrainska Pravda reported that this was a special operation 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. Until 18 January, the Pskov Oblast had been the northernmost and most remote point attacked by Ukraine.