The fire was triggered by a drone attack, the Russian state agency TASS reported Thursday morning, citing rescue workers. The tank farm of an oil refinery in the village of Ilski near the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk in southern Russia was hit.
“A second turbulent night for our rescue services,” wrote Krasnodar Territory Governor Veniamin Kondratyev on Telegram. The night before, a similar incident had occurred in the Volna settlement, around 50 kilometers away, in the Taman district, which is also in the southern Russian region of Krasnodar. There, too, a fuel reservoir caught fire near the Crimean bridge, and Russian authorities there also named a drone attack as the cause. On the outskirts of Volna is a large transhipment terminal for oil and oil products, which are then shipped across the Black Sea.
Attacks on strategically important infrastructure
Most recently, attacks on strategically important infrastructure have increased in Russia, which is waging a war of aggression against neighboring Ukraine. A fuel depot in Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, was set on fire over the weekend. According to Russian information, ten tanks with a capacity of around 40,000 tons were destroyed by a drone attack in the Crimean port of Sevastopol on Saturday. In the western Russian region of Bryansk, two freight trains derailed in quick succession after explosions. In these cases, too, there was talk of drone attacks.
Ukraine rarely claims responsibility for drone attacks on infrastructure and military targets in regions near Russia, which Russia says are frequent. However, Ukrainian military leaders have admitted that attacks on supply routes and military logistics are part of preparations for a long-awaited counter-offensive.
Weak point of the Russian army
British secret services see a weak point in the Russian army in tank depots near the Russian-Ukrainian border. London suspects that the frequency of these attacks will have consequences: Moscow will probably be forced to reorganize its logistics and protect the fuel better or store it in less threatened areas, it said.
During the night, Russia primarily targeted the port city of Odessa in new heavy drone attacks against Ukraine. “The enemy guided 15 Shahed-131/136 (Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles) towards Odessa during the night,” the Southern Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Thursday. Twelve drones were shot down and three started a fire in a dormitory, which could be extinguished quickly and without victims, it said. According to the air force, 18 of 24 drones aimed at Ukraine were shot down.