Putin's oil depots hit by Ukraine kamikaze drones sparking huge explosions

Putin's oil depots hit by Ukraine kamikaze drones sparking huge explosions

Watch as a Ukrainian drone strike leaves a fuel storage depot in flames

GB News/X
James Saunders

By James Saunders

Published: 20/04/2024

- 17:00

Ukraine has been pushing to hit weak points on Russian soil via drone strikes as pressure mounts on the battlefield after over two years of war

Several industrial sites in Russia were hit by a flurry of long-range Ukrainian drone strikes last night in a major attack which marks just the latest in a string of assaults on Russian soil by Ukraine's forces.

Russia's defence ministry claimed it had managed to shoot down 50 of the drones - but intelligence sources in Kyiv told Reuters that the drones had hit three power substations and set a key fuel depot on fire.

One Ukrainian source said "at least three electrical substations and a fuel storage base were hit, where fires ignited", while videos posted on social media showed explosions and fires across a number of locations.

In total, 26 of the drones were destroyed in the Belgorod region, 10 in the Bryansk region, eight in Kursk, two in Tula, and one in each of the regions of Smolensk, Ryazan, Kaluga and Moscow.

Zelensky/drone strike footage/Putin

Last night's flurry of Ukrainian drone strikes marks the latest in a string of assaults on Russian soil


The drone strikes were a joint operation carried out by Ukraine's SBU security service, the GUR military intelligence agency and the Special Operations Forces, the Ukrainian source said.

Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Russia's Belgorod region - just over the Ukrainian border - said two civilians had been killed as a result of the attack.

The strikes also targeted a fuel facility in Smolensk's Kardym region in western Russia, and hit a fuel and oil lubricants reservoir, the area's governor confirmed.

He added: "As a result of the work of air defence forces, the aircraft were shot down. However, as a result of falling debris, a tank with fuel and oil lubricants caught fire."


Biden and Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (right) had warned his country does not support Ukraine's strikes on Russian oil infrastructure


The governor added that firefighters were battling to put out the blaze, and said it was currently unclear if anyone had been hurt.

The overnight attacks follow an ongoing Russian airstrike campaign which has targeted Ukraine's energy infrastructure and cities in recent weeks.

And with pressure mounting on the battlefield after more than two years since the start of Russia's invasion, Ukraine has been pushing to puncture weak points on Russian soil by targeting oil refineries and energy facilities via drone attacks.

The targeting of Russia's oil industry has led to a stark drop-off in Russia's oil exports; though the country remains one of the world's greatest sellers of crude oil, Ukraine's strikes have seen the country's exports dip by 25 per cent at the start of this month compared to the same period over the prior four years.

The strikes have left the US wary over the global energy market, with the American Secretary of State Antony Blinken stating his country did not support Ukraine's ongoing action across the Russian border.

But US assistance will be vital for Ukraine's war effort - with a debate currently underway in Congress and a vote expected for later on Saturday, the country could see tens of billions of dollars' worth of military aid guaranteed after months of waiting.

If the House of Representatives passes the bills - which ring-fence $60.8billion (£49billion) for Ukraine - the Senate could approve the package this weekend, with President Joe Biden pledging to sign it into law.

And officials have warned of the necessity of arming Ukraine as quickly as possible; in a speech in Texas on Thursday, CIA Director William Burns said: "There is a very real risk that the Ukrainians could lose on the battlefield by the end of 2024, or at least put Putin in a position where he could essentially dictate the terms of a political settlement."

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