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Ukraine Attack Drones Strike Russia Energy Sites

Ukrainian drones attacked oil facilities in western Russia overnight, defense sources in Kyiv confirmed Wednesday, in the latest aerial assault by Kyiv aiming to dent Russian military logistics.

Kyiv has stepped up aerial attacks on Russian energy facilities over recent weeks in the hopes of crippling Moscow’s ability to attack Ukrainian cities or gain more ground in the industrial east.

Officials in the western Russian regions of Smolensk and Lipetsk first announced the attacks, blaming Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles for starting blazes at energy sites.

“The fire is localised. There is no threat of its spread beyond the facilities,” Smolensk regional governor Vasily Anokhin said in a later post on social media.

He distributed images of first responders in helmets at the scene of the attack dousing flames as plumes of black smoke billowed over the site. No one was wounded or killed, the governor said.

Another drone attack targeted the Lipetsk region further south, which houses metallurgical and pharmaceutical sites, governor Igor Artamonov announced.

A source in the Ukrainian defense sector confirmed to AFP that drones of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) had carried out the attacks.

The source made no mention of the attack on Lipetsk but claimed two oil depots were destroyed in the Smolensk region.

“Rosneft lost two storage and pumping bases for fuels and lubricants in the towns of Yartsevo and Rozdorovo,” the source said, referring to the Russian state-controlled energy giant.

The source added that the drones had attacked facilities that store 26,000 cubic meters of fuel and said Ukraine would continue to carry out such bombardments.

“These facilities are — and will remain — absolutely legitimate targets,” the source said.

Russia has been launching systematic attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure, causing lasting damage to critical facilities.

But Ukraine over recent months has also claimed a series of strikes on Russian refineries and oil storage facilities not only in border regions like Smolensk but also in territories hundreds of kilometers from the border.

British media have reported that US officials warned Ukraine against persistent strikes on Russian oil facilities over concerns the attacks could drive up oil prices — a key concern for the US electorate during an election year.

Ukrainian officials in the eastern Kharkiv region meanwhile said that Russian forces had fired rockets at the territory’s main city, also called Kharkiv, wounding six people.

The Ukrainian head of the eastern Donetsk region, which the Kremlin believes is part of Russia, said that six people were wounded by Russian fire over the past 24 hours.

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