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Another oil refinery targeted in Russia’s Tatarstan by drones

Unknown drones targeted an oil refinery and a Shahed drone assembly plant in Tatarstan, Russia, causing damage, with reports suggesting Ukrainian-made drones were used in this deep attack into Russian territory.
drone attacks on Russian oil refineries
Fire at Tatneft’s Taneco oil refinery in Russia’s Nizhnekamsk on the morning of 2 April 2024 following a drone strike. Photo:
Another oil refinery targeted in Russia’s Tatarstan by drones

Overnight on 2 April, unknown drones attacked an oil refinery and a drone factory in Russia’s Tatarstan, a highly industrialized region south-east of Moscow, some 1,250 km from Ukraine’s border. This is the first drone attack on Tatarstan since the Russo-Ukrainian war’s onset.

Earlier this year, Ukraine intensified its strikes against Russian oil refineries and fuel depots, despite the FT reporting that the US urged Ukraine to halt attacks on Russia’s energy infrastructure. However, Ukraine denied the FT’s allegations, and the attacks continued. Both Ukraine’s major intelligence agencies, SBU and HUR, have expanded their drone programs since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.

Russian state-funded TASS news agency claims, citing the President of Tatarstan’s press service, that drones targeting Yelabuga and Nizhnekamsk enterprises. Several allegedly were injured, but no serious damage occurred, and operations continue uninterrupted, as per Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti.

A Ukrainian intelligence source informed Reuters in Kyiv that Ukrainian-made drones inflicted “significant damage” on a military target in Russia’s Tatarstan region.

Oil refinery

According to RIA Novosti, Russian electronic warfare defenses ostensibly intercepted a Ukrainian drone near Tatneft’s Taneco refinery, one of Russia’s largest, in Nizhnekamsk, with a fire erupting at the refinery to be extinguished within 20 minutes, with production remaining uninterrupted.

Reuters says scene photos suggest the drone struck the primary refining unit, CDU-7, at the Taneco refinery, marking one of Ukraine’s deepest drone attacks into Russian territory.

The Taneco oil refinery, one of Russia’s largest and newest, has a production capacity of approximately 360,000 barrels per day.

RBC-Ukraine says Russian sources claim that a UJ-22 drone, which has been in Ukraine’s arsenal since 2020 and carries at least 20 kg of explosives, struck Tatarstan. The incident has not been officially commented on by the intelligence services.

Shahed drone factory

The target of the attack in Russia’s Tatarstan, was a Shahed assembly plant, as part of an operation by the Main Intelligence Directorate (HUR), a source in the security services told RBC-Ukraine. The facility producing the localized Iranian Shahed kamikaze drones, labeled “Geran-2” by the Russians, suffered significant damage to its production capabilities as a result of the strike, as per the source.

According to RFE/RL’s reporting, following Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine, the “Alabuga” special economic zone in Tatarstan organized the assembly of Iranian “Shahed” suiside drones, known in Russia as “Geran-2.” These drones, assembled by students of the “Alabuga Polytech” college, were used in over 600 strikes on Ukraine last autumn, as per investigations by “Protokol” journalists and the YouTube channel “RZVRT.”

The press service of the so-called special economic zone “Alabuga” says two drones allegedly attacked a dormitory, injuring three people, one adult and two teenagers, at 5:45 a.m. local time, RFE/RL reported. The Telegram channel “Ostorozhno, novosti” adds that a hostel complex in Yelabuga, constructed in 2022 for the special economic zone’s employees and “Alabuga Polytech” college students, was damaged. Later Tatarstan’s Health Ministry said six were lightly injured in the attack.

It’s worth noting that Ukrainian drones continue to systematically target Russian territory, including oil refineries situated hundreds of kilometers away. Recently, British intelligence revealed that Russia’s oil refining capacities are decreasing due to strikes by attack drones. Additionally, the restoration of damaged refineries is expected to take longer due to the impact of Western sanctions on Russian enterprises and the prohibition of importing essential equipment into the aggressor nation.

Ukrainian drone assault on Russian oil industry

This year, Ukraine escalated its attacks on Russian oil refineries and fuel depots in January 2024. Here is the short timeline of major attacks:

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