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Ukraine attacks Russia’s oil facilities at eastern Black Sea coast

Overnight, a massive drone attack targeted oil facilities in Tuapse and Novorossiysk in Russia’s Krasnodar Krai, hundreads of kilometers behind the frontline.
Fires at the Tuapse oil refinery (L) and in the Novorossiysk post (R) after an alleged Ukrainian drone attack on 17 May 2024. Screenshots: Telegram/Astra.
Ukraine attacks Russia’s oil facilities at eastern Black Sea coast

Overnight on 17 May, a significant drone attack targeted two Russian port towns in Krasnodar Krai—Tuapse and Novorossiysk—on the eastern Black Sea coast, according to social media and local Russian officials. The attack once again struck Tuapse’s oil refinery and damaged at least two oil storage tanks in the Novorossiysk port.

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that its air defenses allegedly “destroyed and intercepted” 102 drones, with 51 of UAVs in occupied Crimea, 44 in Krasnodar Krai, and six drone boats in the Black Sea.

Ukraine has been conducting an ongoing drone strike campaign targeting fuel and energy facilities in Russia, including power substations and oil refineries, using domestic unmanned systems. The campaign, particularly active since the beginning of this year, has affected multiple regions. Responsibility for some of these incidents has been unofficially claimed by Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) and military intelligence. The strikes are likely aimed at degrading Russian military logistics and oil product exports to undermine the profits that fuel the war effort.

Novorossiysk

According to the Russian Telegram channel Astra, Novorossiysk residents reported 33 drones and more than 35 explosions. Novorossiysk is situated about 330 km away from the frontline.

The regional governor officially described these early morning incidents as an “unsuccessful Ukrainian Armed Forces attack,” claiming that 10 drones were shot down by air defenses.

As a result of the crash of the [UAVs] there were localized fires, which are now being extinguished. According to preliminary information, there were no casualties,” Governor of Krasnodar Krai Venyamin Kondratyev claimed.

Several clips from Novorossiysk published on social media feature Ukrainian Liutyi long-range suicide drones, the work horses of the Ukrainian security agencies, which are usually behind the deep rear attacks on the Russian territory.

Additionally, Russian military bloggers confirmed strikes, and residents noted that the port lost power overnight.

Referring to its sources in a later update, Astra said in Novorossiysk, the drones targeted at least two oil depots and two oil terminals during the nighttime assault. The affected sites included the “Novorossiysk Fuel Oil Terminal” and the “Importpishcheprom” terminal, where drones struck two fuel tanks. Additionally, the attack hit Gazprom’s oil depot in Kirillovka village and Transneft’s “Grushovaya Balka” oil depot. No casualties were reported.

NASA FIRMS map tracking wildfires showed three locations with high temperature anomalies.

NASA FIRMS map showing fires clustered in three locations in Russia’s Novorossiysk on 17 May 2024.

Tuapse

On the morning of 17 May, a drone attack ignited a fire at the oil refinery in Tuapse, some 430 km from the front. Videos of the incident appeared on social media and were later officially confirmed by the so-called operational headquarters of Krasnodar Krai, Russia.

The Krasnodar Krai’s operational HQ said two drones targeted “civilian infrastructure” and an alleged crash of one of those caused fire, causing no casualties.

Rosneft’s oil refinery in Tuapse, one of Russia’s ten largest, was previously targeted by drones in January, when they damaged the rectification column of the facility halting the production of oil products, and resumed operations only three months later, in late April.

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