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Ukrainian Drones Hit Major Rosneft Refinery in Russia

Just as Russia had started to bring back some refinery capacity damaged by Ukrainian drone attacks earlier this year, a new wave of drone attacks hit a major refinery owned by Rosneft, for a second time.

Rosneft's Ryazan refinery southeast of Moscow caught fire after the overnight drone attack, an anonymous Ukrainian military source with knowledge of the situation told Bloomberg News on Wednesday.

The refinery in the region of Ryazan, whose main city of the same name is some 120 miles southeast of Moscow, was first attacked by drones in the middle of March. The first attack also led to a fire.

This year, Ukraine has stepped up attacks on oil refineries in Russia, which have reduced Russian refining capacity, and, reportedly, have the White House concerned about rising international prices.

The United States has repeatedly urged Ukraine to halt its drone attacks on Russian oil refineries due to Washington's assessment that the strikes could lead to Russian retaliation and push up global oil prices, the Financial Times reported in March, citing sources familiar with the exchange.

As of mid-April, Russia had brought back online some oil refining units, reducing the capacity taken offline by Ukrainian drone hits to around 10%, from 14% at the end of March.

The refining capacity in Russia that was offline due to drone attacks was estimated by Reuters in mid-April at around 660,000 barrels per day (bpd), compared to 907,000 bpd offline at the end of March.

Russia said in early April it can repair all damaged units within two months.

Russia's Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov said that all damaged refineries in the country would be restarted by the beginning of June.

"Repairs are underway at the refineries. We plan to re-launch a number of refineries after repairs in April-May, possibly before the beginning of June," Russian news agency Interfax quoted Shulginov as saying.

"All facilities that were damaged will be re-commissioned," the minister added.  

By Charles Kennedy for

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Charles Kennedy

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