Drones attacked two oil refineries just 40-50 miles (65-80 km) east of Russia’s biggest oil export terminals on Wednesday, sparking a fire at one and causing no damage to the other, according to Russian officials.
Drone attacks deep inside Russia have intensified in recent weeks with strikes on Moscow, oil pipelines and even the Kremlin ahead of a Ukrainian counter-offensive.
At around 0100 GMT a drone struck the Afipsky oil refinery in Russia’s Krasnodar region, causing a fire which was later extinguished, Governor Veniamin Kondratyev said.
The Afipsky refinery lies 50 miles east of the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, one of Russia’s most important oil export gateways. The plant can process around 6 million tonnes (44 million barrels) of oil each year.
Novorossiisk, together with the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) terminal, bring about 1.5% of global oil to market.
Last year, CPC exported via the South Ozereyevka terminal 58.7 million tonnes of oil, mainly from Kazakhstan, while the terminal of Sheskharis at Novorossiisk handled about 30 million tonnes of oil.
Another drone crashed into the Ilsky refinery, which lies around 40 miles east of Novorossiisk, Russian state-owned news agency RIA reported, citing local officials.
According to the refinery’s web site, its five processing units have the combined capacity of 3 million tonnes per year.
There was no immediate information on who launched the drones but Russia has accused Ukraine of increased attacks on targets inside the country, including on Moscow on Tuesday.
Ukraine almost never publicly claims responsibility for attacks inside Russia or on Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine.
Refineries across Russia have been frequently attacked by drones following the start of what the Kremlin casts as the “special military operation” in Ukraine in February 2022.