A Ukrainian drone sets a fire at a Russian refinery

  • Four injured as a result of the Ukrainian bombing of a border town – Governor
  • Refinery fire in the latest attack on Russia’s oil infrastructure
  • Russia says the United States supports “terrorists” after the Moscow drone attack

MOSCOW/KIEV (Reuters) – A Ukrainian drone has started a fire at an oil refinery in southern Russia and a Russian town near the border has been bombed for the third time in a week, damaging buildings and vehicles and injuring four people. Russian officials said on Wednesday.

A day after Russia accused Ukraine of sending drones to attack buildings in Moscow, Ukrainian artillery shelled the Russian town of Chebykino about 7 kilometers (4.5 miles) north of the border with Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on messaging app Telegram.

Two people were taken to hospital and the shelling broke windows and damaged the roofs of an eight-story apartment building, four houses, a school and other places, he said.

The governor of the Krasnodar region in southern Russia said the drone was the likely culprit in a fire at the Avipsky oil refinery.

Governor Veniamin Kondratyev said on Telegram that the fire was immediately put out and there were no injuries. The Afipsky refinery is not far from the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, near another refinery that has been attacked several times this month.

There was no immediate information on who launched the drone, but Moscow has accused Kiev of increasing attacks inside Russia in recent weeks, while Russia has repeatedly bombed Ukrainian cities with drones and missiles.

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Reuters could not independently verify the reports.

Skies over Ukraine were relatively calm on Tuesday night, and no major airstrikes were reported. Russian drone attacks killed one person and wounded four others in Kyiv on Tuesday, according to Ukrainian officials.

The attacks inside Russia come as Ukraine prepares for a counter-offensive to drive Russian forces out of territory it has occupied since its all-out invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Ukraine has almost never publicly claimed responsibility for attacks in Russia or on Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine.

Drone war

Russia said Ukrainian drones struck wealthy neighborhoods of Moscow on Tuesday, in what one politician described as the deadliest attack on the capital since World War Two. Kiev was also hit from the air for the third time in 24 hours.

Air attacks by both sides intensified as the stalemate continued on the ground with Russian forces entrenched along a line stretching into eastern and southern Ukraine.

Russia’s defense ministry said eight drones sent by Ukraine to Moscow targeting civilians were shot down or diverted using electronic jamming devices, though Baza, which has links to the security services, said there were more than 25.

Mykhailo Podolak, Ukraine’s presidential aide, denied Kiev was directly involved but said “we are glad to see the events” and expected more such strikes.

Two people were injured while some apartment complexes were briefly evacuated, according to Moscow’s mayor. Residents said they heard a loud bang, followed by the smell of petrol. Some filmed shooting down a drone and photographing a plume of smoke.

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The drones targeted some of the most prestigious areas of Moscow, including where Russian President Vladimir Putin and other members of the elite live.

Putin said Ukraine’s largest drone attack on Moscow was an attempt to scare and provoke Russia and that air defenses around the capital would be strengthened.

Civilian targets in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities have been repeatedly bombed since the early days of the war by Russian drones and missiles.

But Tuesday was only the second time Moscow came under direct fire.

In Washington, the White House said it was gathering information on reports of drone strikes in Moscow.

“We don’t support attacks inside Russia. That’s it. Period,” White House press secretary Karen Jean-Pierre told a news briefing.

Washington is a major supplier of arms to Ukraine on the condition that it uses them to defend itself and restore Ukrainian lands occupied by Russian forces.

The Russian ambassador to the US has accused Washington of encouraging “terrorists” in Kiev by publicly ignoring the drone attack.

dangers of a nuclear plant

One of the southern places that Russian forces have controlled since the beginning of the invasion is the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, and on Tuesday the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency asked Ukraine and Russia to respect five principles to protect it. Neither Ukraine nor Russia committed to respecting the principles.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, has been trying for months to get an agreement to reduce the risk of a nuclear accident from military activity such as the bombing of Zaporizhia, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

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In a briefing to the UN Security Council, Grossi said the principles included not launching an attack on or from the station, and not using it as a base for heavy weapons and other military equipment. He called for power to be provided to the plant off-site to remain available and safe.

(Reporting by David Leungren, Jay Faulkonbridge, Max Hunder, Olena Harmash, Pavel Polityuk, Valentin Ogierenko, Gleb Garanich, Lydia Kelly, Trevor Honeycutt and Steve Holland; Writing by Stephen Coates; Editing by Robert Birsel

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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