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Alleged Ukrainian drones target occupied Crimea, oil facilities in Russia’s Krasnodar Krai and St. Petersburg

On 19 May, drones targeted an oil depot and an airfield in Russia’s Krasnodar Krai and explosions occurred in occupied Crimea. Meanwhile, a fire broke out at Russia’s Saint Petersburg oil depot, with local officials denying it resulted from a drone attack.
alleged ukrainian drones target occupied crimea oil facilities russias krasnodar krai st petersburg explosion refinery slavyansknakubani fire depot russia 19 may 2024 screenshots from socila media videos explosionsrussiakrasnodarpiter
Explosion at an oil refinery in Slavyansk-na-Kubani, Krasnodar Krai, and in a fire at an oil depot in St. Petersburg, Russia, on 19 May 2024. Screenshots from social media videos.
Alleged Ukrainian drones target occupied Crimea, oil facilities in Russia’s Krasnodar Krai and St. Petersburg

Overnight on 19 May, drones attacked an oil refinery and an air field in Russia’s Krasnodar Krai, while explosions were also reported across occupied Crimea. A fire also started at a Saint-Petersburg oil depot, with local authorities claiming it wasn’t due to a drone strike.

In the past three months, Ukraine has intensified its drone attacks against the Russian oil industry, significantly disrupting fuel supplies crucial for the Russian military, while simultaneously decreasing the Kremlin’s export revenues.

Ukraine does not officially comment on such drone attacks, but Liga noted that previously Ukrainian Minister of Strategic Industries Oleksandr Kamyshin said in an interview: “What explodes in Russia is all ours (meaning ‘our actions,’ – Ed.).

The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that overnight, their air defense systems destroyed 9 ATACMS missiles and one drone over occupied Crimea, three drones over Russia’s Belgorod Oblast, and ostensibly 57 drones were intercepted or destroyed over Krasnodar Krai. Such reports from the ministry are often greatly exaggerated or outright false.

At the time this article was published, there was no confirmed information regarding damage resulting from the attacks.

Krasnodar Krai’s Slavyansk oil refinery

Overnight on 19 May, the so-called operational headquarters of Krasnodar Krai reported that allegedly one drone crashed on the premises of an oil refinery in the Russian city of Slavyansk-na-Kubani.

The Slavyansk refinery, a relatively small facility with an annual capacity of 4 million tons, had already been attacked in March and April. It produces fuel oil, marine fuel, and ligroin.

The HQ claimed that one of the drones “fell on the territory of the refinery” in Slavyansk-na-Kubani, and preliminary reports indicated that “there are no casualties or destruction, and no fires were recorded.

Videos that emerged on social media show a powerful explosion at the facility:

Drones were also observed in the Kushchyovsky district of Krasnodar Krai, Russia. The Telegram channel ASTRA reported, based on eyewitness accounts, that these drones targeted a local military airfield in the district.

The so-called operational headquarters of Krasnodar Krai reported that following the crash of one unmanned aerial vehicle in the Kushchyovsky district, there was a “localized fire, which did not extend to populated areas.” Efforts to extinguish the fire were underway, and there were no casualties or destruction reported.

The Krasnodar Krai “HQ” claimed that the local air defenses “suppressed” a total of 10 UAVs in the region, not reporting the total number of the drones and successful attacks.

Crimea

Last night, explosions were heard in the occupied Crimea’s cities of Sevastopol, Yevpatoriya, and on the outskirts of Simferopol. In Sevastopol, air raid sirens sounded, according to reports from local residents to Suspilne Crimea.

The Russian-installed “governor” of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev reported air defense activities, later claiming that there was no damage to civilian infrastructure in the city.

A Sevastopol resident described the situation as “Very powerful explosions, at least five. The windows in my apartment were shaking.” In occupied Yevpatoriya, a local reported hearing several muffled explosions, according to Suspilne Crimea.

I heard several explosions, but they were muffled, either outside the city or in the sky,” said the man.

Explosions were also heard on the northern outskirts of Simferopol.

“You could hear them here near the Auchan [mall]. But it seemed like the explosions were farther away, possibly towards the areas of Hvardiiske or Urozhaine,” a Simferopol resident told Suspilne Crimea.

St. Petersburg

Also, locals in the area of Vyborg, close to Saint Petersburg, reported on social media an explosion followed by a massive fire. Videos published on social media depict a column of black smoke billowing above a facility engulfed in flames.

Aleksandr Drozdenko, Leningrad Oblast Governor, claimed there was no drone attack on the Vyborg oil depot, but the usage of pyrotechnics. Drozdenko did not elaborate on how and why the pyrotechnics could have been used at the facility with highly flammable materials.

“Information about a UAV attack on the Vyborg oil depot does not correspond to reality. There was a clap (a Russian euphemism for an explosion, – Ed.) on the territory of the old Vyborg oil depot due to the use of pyrotechnics. There were no casualties, threat of fire or fire,” claimed the official.

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