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Ukraine disrupts Russian fuel supply with strikes on oil refineries

Ukraine retaliated against Russia’s invasion by sending kamikaze drones to strike oil refineries in two Russian regions, sparking a massive fire and destroying a key processing unit.
oil refinery
The aftermath of a drone strike on an oil refinery in the Krasnodar region (southwestern Russia) on 9 February 2024. Credit: SHOT.

Last night, powerful explosions caused a fire at several oil refineries in Russia, Russian media reported.

Ukraine is using long-range kamikaze drones to attack Russia’s oil refineries that provide fuel for the Russian army to support its invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) launched kamikaze drones to attack oil facilities in two Russian regions last night, the Ukrainska Pravda reported, citing unnamed sources in the SBU. The drones hit Ilsky and Afipsky oil refineries in the Krasnodar region (southwestern Russia) and crashed on the territory of an oil depot in the Oryol region (western Russia).

According to the Ukrainska Pravda, the attack on the Ilsky oil refinery caused a severe fire. As a result of the drone strike, a primary processing unit with a capacity of 3.6 million tons per year was damaged. The price of such a unit is around $50 million, the Ukrainska Pravda reported.

The consequences of the drone strike at the Afipsky oil refinery are currently being clarified, according to the Ukrainska Pravda

The Ilsky and Afipsky oil refineries are located about 20 kilometers apart. According to the Ukrainska Pravda’s source at the SBU, such facilities are legitimate targets for Ukraine, as they provide fuel for Russian troops that fight against the Ukrainian Armed Forces on the territory of Ukraine.

The Afipsky refinery is a large oil refinery located near the village of Afipsky in Russia’s Krasnodar region, more than 500 kilometers from the frontline in eastern Ukraine. The Afipsky facility’s refining capacity is 6.25 million tons per year. This oil refinery belongs to the Russian LLC Afipsky Refinery (part of Safmar Group).

The Afipsky oil refinery produces gas gasoline, diesel fuel, gas condensate distillates, vacuum gasoil, fuel oil, sulfur, and aviation fuel for Russian aircraft.

In October 2023, the SBU had already attacked the Afipsky oil refinery with kamikaze drones.

Another kamikaze drone crashed on the territory of an oil depot in the village of Stalevy Kony in the Oryol region (western Russia). After the crash, the drone exploded. Russian media and authorities did not report any damage or injuries.

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