Ukraine’s 62-drone attack on Russia halts oil refinery


Officials said the Ukrainian-launched drones carried bigger charges than in previous attacks.
Officials said the Ukrainian-launched drones carried bigger charges than in previous attacks.

Russia says Ukraine has launched a major 62-drone attack on Russian regions forcing one oil refinery in southern Russia to halt operations, and that Kyiv’s forces had fired US, French and Ukrainian missiles at Russian-held territory.

Russia shot down at least 103 drones, including 62 over Russian regions, as well as Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) over Crimea, French guided “Hammer” bombs and US High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

Local officials said six drones crashed onto the territory of an oil refinery in Slavyansk in Russia’s southern Krasnodar region. Interfax news agency said the refinery halted work after the attack.

Russia says it shot down 62 Ukranian drones, including six near an oil refinery, shutting it down. (AP PHOTO)

TASS quoted an official at the refinery as saying the charges carried by the Ukrainian-launched drones were bigger than previous attacks and that they included steel balls.

Slavyansk refinery is a private plant with a capacity of four million metric tons of oil per year, about one million barrels per day.

A Ukrainian intelligence source told Reuters in Kyiv that Ukraine’s security service SBU and military drones struck the Slavyansk refinery and a military airfield in Russia’s southern Krasnodar region in overnight attacks.

The Ukrainian navy also said it had destroyed the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s Project 266-M Kovrovets minesweeper.

Russia said its forces had defeated Ukraine’s 24th and 42nd mechanized brigades and the 125th Air Defense Brigade at Lukiantsi, Vesele and Radhospne in the Kharkiv region and repelled attacks by Kyiv’s forces at other points in the region.

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Russia ramped up attacks in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, with ten dead in two attacks. (AP PHOTO)

Russia has reported a rise in Ukrainian attacks on its territory since its forces opened a new front in northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region earlier this month.

Just on Sunday, Russian air strikes killed at least 10 people, including a pregnant woman, and injured 25 others in two separate attacks in the region.

President Vladimir Putin says Russia is carving out a buffer zone there to protect Russia from such attacks, which Russia says risk triggering a broader war between Russia and the West if Ukraine uses Western weapons.

Putin said on Friday that Russia had no plans currently to take Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city,

The White House said on Friday that US policy on not encouraging Ukraine’s use of US weapons against Russian sovereign territory had not changed.

“We do not encourage nor do we enable attacks using US-supplied weapons systems inside Russian territory. That’s the policy,” John Kirby, the White House national security spokesperson, told reporters. 

“That has not changed.”

That remark came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday in Kyiv that the United States does not encourage Ukraine to strike targets inside Russia with US-supplied weapons but believes it is a decision Kyiv should make for itself.

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Ukrainian anti-drone unit servicemen search for Russian drones. (AP PHOTO)

Russia said on Saturday its forces had captured the village of Starytsia in Kharkiv region and that they had defeated Ukrainian units along the front, including in the Sumy region.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and along with parts of four other regions its forces control, considers the territories – which amount to about 18% of Ukraine – to be part of Russia now. That stance has been rejected by Ukraine and its Western allies.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says he will not rest until all Russian troops are ejected from Ukraine.

Zelenskiy told Agence France-Presse in an interview that he expected Russia to step up its offensive in the northeast and warned Kyiv had only a quarter of the air defences it needs to defend Ukraine.

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Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says world leaders must overcome their political will. (AP PHOTO)

“The world can stop Russian terror – and to do so, the lack of political will among leaders must be overcome,” Zelenskiy said on Telegram.

AFP also quoted him as saying that while the West did not want Ukraine to lose the war, it was afraid of what a defeat for Russia might mean.