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Ukraine drone strikes hit Russian refinery, drone plant

Russian firefighters extinguish a blaze after a reported drone attack on the territory of the Klintsevskaya oil depot near Bryansk, Russia, on January 19. File Image courtesy of Russian Emergencies Ministry/EPA-EFE
Russian firefighters extinguish a blaze after a reported drone attack on the territory of the Klintsevskaya oil depot near Bryansk, Russia, on January 19. File Image courtesy of Russian Emergencies Ministry/EPA-EFE

April 2 (UPI) -- A dozen people were injured Tuesday in dawn Ukrainian drone strikes on oil-refining and other military-industrial targets deep inside southern Russia.

The attacks on the Tatarstan region a thousand miles east of Ukraine set ablaze the Taneco oil refinery in Nizhnekamsk, one of the country's largest, and struck a dormitory in the nearby town of Yelabuga, where at least 12 people, all students, were injured, according to local authorities.

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Three of the injured were hospitalized, according to the state-run news agency Tass.

Ukraine intelligence sources said Ukraine's military was responsible for the attacks.

Yelabuga is part of a foreign investment enterprise zone where Iranian-designed long-range "Shahed" drones, frequently used to attack Ukraine, are believed to be manufactured. The Taneco refinery, although important to the special economic zone, only accounts for around 2.6% of Russia's oil-processing capacity.

Ukrainian military intelligence said the Yelabuga strike "caused significant destruction of production facilities," but Rustam Minnikhanov, head of the Republic of Tatarstan, insisted there has been no disruption to production.

Emergency services said the refinery was attacked by drones, but they put out the resulting fire in about 20 minutes.

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However, Nizhnekamsk Mayor Ramil Mullin said a drone attempting to target the refinery had been "neutralized by electronic warfare" and that there had been no casualties or damage.

Russian authorities said the raid was part of an increasing effort by Kyiv to target energy infrastructure deep in the country's interior, which had seen attempted attacks against 11 other facilities in the past month.

Three weeks ago, Ukraine launched waves of attack drones against energy facilities in several regions, from Krasnodar in the south to Moscow and Yaroslavi 170 miles northeast of the capital, killing at least two people and injuring 11.

Ukraine's SBU special forces are also thought to be behind a Jan. 21 major blast and fire at natural gas producer Novatek's Ust-Luga export terminal near St. Petersburg, also caused by drones.

The incident grounded flights out of nearby Pulkovo International Airport serving St. Petersburg and the surrounding Leningrad Oblast.

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