Ukrainian drone hits Russia’s third largest refinery, but damage is not critical

In a new drone attack, Ukraine managed to hit the largest refining unit of Taneco, one of Russia’s main oil refineries. Although they did not cause serious damage, it is estimated that these attacks paralyzed 14% of the Eurasian country’s production.

A Ukrainian drone attacked Russia’s third-largest oil refinery on Tuesday, about 1,300 km from the front, hitting a unit that processes about 155,000 barrels of crude oil per day, although an industry source said it did not caused critical damage.

Russian officials said their jamming devices were locked on a Ukrainian drone near Tatneft’s Taneco refinery, which has an annual production capacity of more than 17 million tonnes (340,000 barrels per day).

Footage from the scene indicates that the drone struck the primary refining unit, CDU-7, at the refinery located in Russia’s highly industrialized Tatarstan region, although it does not appear to have caused serious damage.

An industry source, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said staff were returning to the factory.

Oil soars after US and British attacks on Houthi military targets. Photo: REUTERS.

A fire broke out at the refinery and was extinguished within 20 minutes, according to the official RIA news agency, which added that production was not affected.

The damaged unit is equivalent to approximately half of the plant’s total annual production capacity. The refinery accounts for approximately 6.2% of Russia’s refining capacity.

Brent briefly rose above $89 a barrel for the first time since October, amid concerns over Ukrainian drone attacks and escalating conflict in the Middle East.

A Ukrainian military intelligence source said Taneco’s main refining unit was hit, causing a fire. The aim of the attack, the source added, was to reduce Russia’s oil revenues.

Another Ukrainian intelligence source claimed that Ukrainian-made drones also hit a Russian production plant for “Shahed” long-range attack drones, causing “significant damage.”

The Washington Post reported last year that Russia was mass-producing drones at a factory in Tatarstan.

Russian oil revenues

In recent months, Ukraine has begun attacking oil refineries in Russia, the world’s second-largest oil exporter, affecting Moscow’s lucrative trade in refined products, amid large-scale Russian missile attacks on the network. Ukrainian energy.

According to Reuters calculations, around 14% of Russian refining capacity has been crippled by drone attacks. The demand for refined petroleum products is higher than that for Russian crude oil.

Attacks on Russian refineries – many of which are in the world’s largest country – have raised concerns in Washington about the possibility of escalation with Russia.

Ukraine says its drone strikes against Russia are justified by the fight for survival and the extensive damage caused to its infrastructure, including power plants, by Russian airstrikes.

Ukraine, which says it has been attacked by more than 4,630 long-range Russian Shahed drones during the 25-month war, sees its own push into drone production as a way to fight back against a much better armed and deterred enemy . .

Since President Vladimir Putin sent Russian forces to Ukraine in 2022, drones have played a major role in the war, either as “kamikaze” attackers or as eyes in the sky that guide other weapons to kill soldiers or destroy equipment.

Ukraine has carried out a series of high-profile attacks inside Russia intended to undermine Russia’s war machine or, as in the case of a drone attack on the Kremlin in 2023, to bring to the forefront the reality of war in the very heart of Russia.

A powerful Putin ally said Tuesday that NATO was primarily fighting Russia in Ukraine and that the U.S.-led military alliance had helped stage attacks on sovereign Russian territory.

An employee works at the Gazprom Neft Omsk (OZSM) lubricants plant in Omsk, Russia, November 18, 2022. Photo: REUTERS.

Asked whether Russia believed the United States was involved in the attacks on Russian refineries, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded Tuesday that the question was more for the Defense Ministry and to security services.

“The kyiv regime continues its terrorist activities,” Peskov said. “We and our military work first and foremost to minimize this threat and then eliminate it. »

Ukrainian sources claim that kyiv is solely responsible for planning and executing drone attacks in Russia. The United States has repeatedly stated that it does not support Ukrainian attacks in Russia.

Tuesday’s attacks also hit businesses in Yelabuga and Nizhnekamsk and several people were injured, Tatarstan regional governor Rustam Minnikhanov said.

Two drones struck a dormitory in the territory of the Alabuga special economic zone and at least seven people were injured, Russian media reported.

Source: Latercera

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