Russia blames Ukraine drone strike for massive blazes at oil facilities

Russia has accused Ukraine of being behind a drone strike that sparked a massive inferno at an oil depot in western Russia on Friday after a similar attack of Russia's largest refineries. They are the latest in a series of escalating cross-border attacks as the Russia-Ukraine war will soon enter its third year.

By Stefan J. Bos 

Russian officials say four oil reservoirs with a total capacity of 6,000 cubic meters or 1.6 million gallons were set on fire at this oil refinery after the Ukrainian drone reached Klintsy.

The Russian city of 70,000 people is about 60 kilometers or 40 miles from the Ukrainian border. Russian authorities admitted that although air defenses electronically jammed the drone, it still dropped its explosive payload on this facility.

Although the Bryansk regional governor, Alexander Bogomaz, said there were no casualties, the strike did significant damage, with fire brigades clearly struggling to put out the blaze.

It is the second attack on a Russian oil depot in as many days and part of what Kyiv called “fair” retaliation for Moscow’s strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure. One also tore through the Ryazan oil refinery, Russia’s third largest, on Friday. The massive blaze at this oil refinery southeast of Moscow, controlled by Rosneft, was later put out, and there were no injuries.