Ukraine’s SBU security service has carried out operations in southern Russia, attacking two Russian oil refineries with drones, causing a massive fire at one of the facilities, a Ukrainian source told Reuters on Friday.
The drone attacks caused a large fire at the Ilsky refinery in the Krasnodar region in southern Russia.
The fire has been put out, the Russian authorities said earlier today, without specifying the cause of the fire.
The drones launched by Ukraine damaged the primary processing unit at the Ilsky refinery, the anonymous Ukrainian source told Reuters.
The nearby Afipsky oil refinery was also targeted by Ukrainian drones, but Ukraine is still assessing the outcome of the operation, according to the source who spoke to Reuters.
In recent weeks, Ukraine has stepped up drone attacks on Russian refineries and other energy infrastructure.
Last month, a large refinery of Russian state oil giant Rosneft in southern Russia was damaged in a fire in a suspected Ukrainian drone attack. The 240,000 barrels-per-day refinery in Tuapse was hit by a fire, which was the result of a drone attack by the Ukrainian security service, a Ukrainian source told Reuters at the time.
“The SBU strikes deep into the Russian Federation and continues attacks on facilities which are not only important for the Russian economy, but also provide fuel for the enemy troops,” the source told Reuters.
The Tuapse refinery mostly exports its production of naphtha, high-sulfur diesel, fuel oil, and vacuum gasoil to Turkey, China, Malaysia, and Singapore.
The drone attack at the Rosneft refinery in southern Russia took place days after another suspected drone attack forced Russia’s gas firm Novatek to suspend operations at a Baltic Sea fuel export terminal.
The attacks and damages on Russian refineries have reduced Russia’s capability to process crude, which has led to higher Russian exports of crude oil, according to industry data and analyst estimates reported by Reuters. Higher crude exports could undermine the export cuts Moscow has pledged this quarter as part of the OPEC+ agreement.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com