ANI Photo | Ukraine strikes oil refineries in Russian territory, escalating drone attacks ahead of Putin’s expected re-election

Ukraine launched drone strikes on three oil refineries situated deep within Russian territory, escalating cross-border attacks just days before President Vladimir Putin’s anticipated re-election, CNN reported.
According to a Ukrainian defence source speaking to CNN, these strikes are part of a meticulously planned strategy aimed at diminishing Russian economic capabilities.
The targeted refineries include facilities in Ryazan, approximately 130 miles southeast of Moscow, Kstovo in the Nizhny Novgorod region, nearly 300 miles east of the capital, and Kirishi in Russia’s northwest. These refineries stand as pillars of Russia’s oil industry, as highlighted by the source.
Adding to the list, the Novoshakhtinsky oil refinery in Rostov-on-Don was also struck, as confirmed by a representative of Ukraine’s Defence Intelligence on Wednesday.
This marks the second consecutive day of Ukrainian assaults on Russian energy infrastructure, with the latest targets located well within Russian territory.
“Our goal is to take away our enemy’s resources and decrease the flow of oil money and fuel Russia is using directly on the war,” the source also told CNN.
The strikes come amidst a tumultuous situation along the Russian-Ukrainian border, where pro-Ukrainian factions within Russia claimed cross-border attacks, asserting control over the village of Tyotkino in Russia’s Kursk region.
The village remained under fire throughout Wednesday, as confirmed by the regional governor, reflecting the ongoing volatility in the region.
The aftermath of these attacks spilled into Wednesday, with the Freedom for Russia Legion, a group of Russian dissidents fighting alongside Ukraine, claiming responsibility for destroying a command centre in Tyotkino. They asserted their advancement further into Russian territory, although CNN cannot independently verify these claims.
In response, Russia’s defence ministry reported the destruction of 58 Ukrainian drones overnight, some of which ventured as far as the Leningrad region bordering Finland, corroborating Kyiv’s drone offensive.
Pavel Malkov, the regional governor in Ryazan, confirmed a fire outbreak at the targeted refinery, with two reported injuries. Social media footage depicted significant smoke emanating from the refinery complex, showcasing the intensity of the assault.
Later, Andrii Yusov from Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence addressed the attack on the Novoshakhtinsky refinery, highlighting its significance as a military facility supporting occupation forces. He noted the suspension of operations at the refinery, posing challenges for the enemy while providing opportunities for Ukrainian defenders.
The onslaught continued from the previous day when Russian authorities reported at least 25 drone attacks targeting fuel and energy facilities in regions like Oryol and Nizhny Novgorod.
Despite the attacks, no casualties were reported, yet tensions escalated further with cross-border incursions, resulting in civilian injuries in Russian villages like Odnorobovka, Nekhoteevka, and Spodariushino, according to Russian authorities.
The Kursk region witnessed sustained attacks on the village of Tyotkino, leading to substantial damage to buildings and stores, as reported by Governor Roman Starovoyt.
As Ukraine targets Russia’s critical oil reserves, the timing of these strikes coincides with Putin’s imminent re-election, which is widely expected to secure him a fifth term in office, extending his rule into the 2030s. The upcoming vote, set to occur over three days starting Friday, is marred by concerns of fairness and genuine competition.
In a televised interview on Wednesday, Putin attributed the attacks to Ukraine’s failures on the battlefield, emphasising the need for attention on the information front amid setbacks on the line of contact.
“All this is happening against the backdrop of failures on the line of contact, on the front line. They did not achieve any of the goals they set for themselves last year,” Putin remarked, reflecting on Ukraine’s military struggles, CNN reported.

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