One of southern Russia’s largest oil refineries was struck by an apparent drone attack Wednesday, setting off a massive fire, authorities and media reported.
Footage published to social media showed a drone flying toward the Novoshakhtinsk refinery in the Rostov region five kilometers from the Ukrainian border before one of its facilities caught on fire.
“Employees noticed a Ukrainian drone. It crashed into the plant’s structures, after which there was an explosion and fire,” the state-run TASS news agency quoted an unnamed regional official as saying.
Another unnamed security official told the agency that there were two drones involved in the incident.
“One made an impact, crashing into a heat exchange unit after which a fire started. The second flew away,” they said.
The regional Emergencies Ministry branch reported that the fire broke out at around 9:25 a.m. Moscow time and was extinguished within an hour and a half.
It did not disclose the cause of the fire.
The Novoshakhtinsk refinery is reported to be one of the largest in southern Russia with a capacity of up to 7.5 million tons per year.
The latest attack, which has not been officially confirmed, follows explosions and fire at the key Transneft-Druzhba oil depot in Russia’s Bryansk region less than 100 kilometers from the Ukraine border in April.
Missile strikes on Russian territory have become more common after Moscow’s forces withdrew from Kyiv in late March and Ukrainian forces’ counteroffensive approached the Russian border.
Several border regions have raised their terror threat levels in response to the attacks.
Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the attacks on Russian territory but has also not formally denied being behind them.
Source: The Moscow Times