Ukraine fired drones at two separate Russian oil refineries overnight Friday, sparking at least one large fire, a source in Kyiv’s security services told AFP Friday.
Kyiv has ramped up strikes on Russian oil and gas facilities over the past two months, part of what it has called “fair” retaliation on infrastructure used to fuel Russia’s war.
Ukrainian drones hit two refineries in Russia’s southern Krasnodar region at once, “not only the Ilsky refinery, but also the Afipsky refinery,” the source said.
“These refineries are legitimate targets. Not only do they work for defence and provide fuel for Russian troops, but they are also important for the Russian economy,” it added.
Videos shared on social media showed flames at the refinery in Ilsky, a small town about 50 kilometres (30 miles) inland from the Black Sea coast.
Local rescue services confirmed a fire had erupted overnight at the refinery, but did not say whether the blaze was caused by a drone attack.
Damage at the refinery in the nearby town of Afipsky was not immediately clear, the Ukrainian source said.
Russia and Ukraine said Friday they had fired a total of 35 drones at each other overnight, as both sides wage nightly attempts to strike targets behind the static frontline.
Russia’s military shot down 19 Ukrainian drones over four different regions and the Black Sea, the defence ministry said, while Ukraine said it shot down 10 of 16 drones Russia fired.
Russia’s defence ministry said its “air defences had intercepted and destroyed drones in the regions of Kursk (2), Bryansk (5), Oryol (4), Krasnodar (2) and over the Black Sea (6).”
The drones in Oryol, some 170 kilometres from the border with Ukraine, were also aimed at energy infrastructure, regional governor Andrei Klychkov wrote on Telegram.
Ukraine’s air force said Russia fired 16 Iranian-made Shahed drones from bases in the annexed Crimean peninsula and the western Kursk region.
“As a result of combat operations, 10 Shaheds were destroyed in Mykolaiv, Kherson and Kharkiv regions,” it said in a statement.
In recent months, Ukraine has upped drone attacks against Russian territory, mainly targeting border regions, but also the capital Moscow and the northern city of Saint Petersburg.