Ukraine launches new wave of strikes against Russia’s oil facilities

KYIV — Ukraine and Russia traded attacks on each other’s territory Wednesday, including a second day of drone attacks against Russian oil facilities which President Vladimir Putin called an attempt to disrupt presidential elections set for this weekend.

One of the Ukrainian drones struck an oil refinery in the Ryazan region, about 100 miles southeast of Moscow, causing a fire that was extinguished after a few hours, local governor Pavel Malkov said. A Ukrainian official with knowledge of intelligence operations, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, confirmed that the refinery was the target.

“We are systematically implementing a meticulously calculated strategy to reduce the economic potential of the Russian Federation,” the official said. “Our task is to deprive the enemy of resources and diminish the flow of oil money and fuel that Russia directly channels into war and the killing of our citizens.”

Russia’s Ministry of Defense, however, maintained that it had shot down all 65 of the drones launched at six Russian regions overnight.

Ukrainian drones hit Russian oil facility as anti-Kremlin units attack

It was the second attack on Russian territory in two days, after Ukrainian forces launched drones Tuesday against nine Russian cities and towns — some far inside the country — including the oil facilities at Nizhny Novgorod, which caught fire.

The two days of attacks are Kyiv’s most wide-ranging assault on Russian infrastructure since the war started, sending a message of Ukrainian resilience ahead of Russia’s elections, which are taking place over three days, Friday to Sunday.

They also indicate Kyiv’s increased emphasis on striking deep into Russia proper, as Ukrainian forces struggle with shortages of shells and soldiers on the front line and Russian forces are escalating their offensive.

Russia’s air power roars back into the war with devastating guided bombs

Last week, a Ukrainian drone hit an oil depot in the Belgorod region, and since the beginning of the year, Ukraine has attacked more than a dozen oil and gas facilities — including refineries, oil depots and gas terminals — in seven regions.

On Wednesday, Ukraine’s biggest attack was on the Voronezh region in southwest Russia, where 35 drones were intercepted, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The Ukrainian official said that drones also targeted “a Russian Aerospace Forces’ base in Buturlinovka and a military airfield in Voronezh.” This information could not be independently verified.

Drones also attacked the Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery in the Rostov region of southwestern Russia, Rostov governor Vasily Golubev said on Telegram, also temporarily putting it out of commission.

Electronic jamming equipment forced the drones to land on the territory of the refinery without any injuries, but “technological facilities of the enterprise have been stopped,” Golubev said, about which “the consequences are being clarified.”

Ukraine’s military intelligence service “could not confirm or deny its involvement in the operation,” spokesman Andrii Yusov said, adding that the facility was “used for military purposes.”

Another drone struck the headquarters of the FSB, Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, in Belgorod, near Russia’s border with Ukraine, Russian news agency Tass reported.

Ukrainian officials, meanwhile, reported Russian drone and missile attacks in the Sumy and Donetsk regions, some of which hit residential buildings, killing half a dozen people and injuring scores.

Putin gave an interview to Russian media outlets Wednesday in the run-up to the presidential elections, which are widely expected to return him to a fifth term — allowing him to rule until at least 2030.

Putin said that he had “no doubt” that the “main goal” of the recent attacks was “if not to disrupt the presidential elections in Russia, then at least to somehow interfere with the normal process of expressing the will of citizens.”

Morgunov reported from Warsaw, Abbakumova from Riga, Latvia.

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