Russian Refinery Set Ablaze by Drone Crash


Russian Refinery Set Ablaze by Drone Crash #Russian #Refinery #Set #Ablaze #Drone #Crash Welcome to JibGlobe, here is the new resources we have for you today:

ODESSA, Ukraine—A major Russian oil and gas refinery close to the Ukrainian border was set ablaze after a drone allegedly controlled by Kyiv’s forces crashed into it Wednesday morning, according to local authorities and the plant’s management.

The blaze came as Russia gained ground south of Severodonetsk and inflamed tensions with simulated missile strikes on NATO member Estonia.

Footage circulated on Russian state media showed thick columns of black smoke pouring out of the Novoshakhtinsk Refinery OAO in the Rostov district, which borders eastern Ukraine, as firefighters battled to keep the fire under control.

Unconfirmed social-media footage appeared to show a drone crashing into the refinery, triggering a large blast, followed by fire spreading through the facility.

Local authorities told the TASS news agency that the fire started after a drone strike. The agency reported that two drones flew over the plant before the incident. Ukrainian and Russian defense officials didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The remains of two drones were found at the site, local Gov. Vasily Golubev told RIA, another Russian state news agency. The plant management told RIA that the fire had been caused by the drones.

Russian emergency services battled a fire at the Novoshakhtinsk Refinery in the Rostov-on-Don region on Wednesday.

Photo:

Russian Emergencies Ministry/TASS/ZUMA PRESS

The fire was put out just before noon local time and no one was injured, TASS and the Interfax news agencies reported. The refinery, which opened in 2009, is one of the newest in Russia and has an annual capacity of 7.5 metric tons, Interfax said.

Vasily Golubev, governor of the Rostov district, said on his telegram channel that work had been suspended at the plant and all staff had been evacuated following the incident.

This was the latest in a series of fires and explosions in the area close to the border with Ukraine that have been linked to suspected Ukrainian aerial attacks into Russian territory since the war started in February.

In occupied regions of Ukraine, Russia is handing out passports, teaching its version of history, and sending trucks blasting the Kremlin’s propaganda. But convincing people to support the invader can be complicated. JibGlobe’s Thomas Grove reports. Photo: Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Meanwhile, Russia has been conducting simulated missile attacks on Estonia, the small Baltic nation’s Defense Ministry said on Wednesday, an escalation of tensions along the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s northeastern border with Russia.

The mock missile strikes took place during regularly planned military exercises that are currently under way in Russia, said Tiia Falk, international communications adviser for the Estonian Defense Ministry. Separately, Estonia summoned the Russian ambassador on Tuesday after a Russian Mi-8 helicopter crossed into its airspace with its transponders off.

Estonia and its region of small Baltic states on the eastern edge of the European Union has become a fraught flashpoint between Russia and the U.S.-led military alliance.

Unlike Ukraine, Estonia is a member of NATO, whose territory the Biden administration has vowed to defend in the event of an attack.

Ukrainian troops in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas on Tuesday.

Photo:

anatolii stepanov/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Soldiers surveyed damage and salvaged items on Tuesday, after a projectile and subsequent fire destroyed a warehouse in Druzhkivka, Ukraine.

Photo:

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Lately, senior Russian leaders have been verbally threatening Estonia and its neighbors: On June 10, Russian President

Vladimir Putin

told a crowd in Moscow that he was following the example set by Czar Peter the Great’s 1704 conquest of Narva, a largely Russian-speaking town in Estonia, saying: “Peter the Great didn’t conquer anything, he took back what had always belonged to us…It seems now it’s our turn to get our lands back.”

“We should all be so worried that he so openly talks about this,” Estonian Prime Minister

Kaja Kallas

said in an interview last week. “He’s talking about things that really resonate in the Russian public,” she said. “Conquering territories, more territories, more riches.”

In Moscow, members of Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of parliament, have introduced a bill to revoke the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, all of which were subjugated by the Soviet Union until 1991. Last week, Lithuanian border guards began preventing the neighboring Russian exclave of Kaliningrad from importing goods sanctioned by the EU, prompting Russia’s Foreign Ministry to threaten what it said would be a serious response “to protect its national interests.” NATO members will discuss boosting the number of troops and military equipment stationed in the region at a summit in Madrid next week.

Local residents awaited humanitarian aid outside a residential building damaged during the Russian attack, in Borodyanka, Kyiv region, Ukraine, on Tuesday.

Photo:

roman pilipey/Shutterstock

Humanitarian aid was distributed in Borodyanka on Tuesday, after the Russian strike.

Photo:

roman pilipey/Shutterstock

In Ukraine, Russian troops took several villages to the south of Severodonetsk, the regional governor said Wednesday, pushing to encircle from the south the strategically important city over which Moscow has been trying to gain control for weeks, and threatening other cities.

Russian gains come as Ukraine acquires more western heavy artillery that Kyiv hopes will change the slow but steady advances the Russians have made.

The slow gains Russia has made in Donbas point to structural weaknesses and a lack of manpower following the losses the military sustained during the initial month of the invasion when Moscow tried to take Kyiv. But Russia’s creeping advances over the past several weeks are bringing the fight to other towns and cities in the region, even as their military has failed to take the regional prize of Severodonetsk.

Governor of the Ukrainian region of Luhansk,

Serhiy Haidai,

has said Russians have adhered to “creeping tactics,” that have given them control of the villages Pidlisne, Toshkivka and Myrna Dolyna, bringing them closer to the city of Lysychansk.

“Lysychansk is constantly suffering from enemy fire,” he wrote on Telegram. “The massive shelling significantly destroyed infrastructure and housing.”

He said Russians fired missiles at the city’s police and security forces headquarters in violence that injured three civilians and several police.

The attacks come a day before Kyiv is hoping to become an official EU candidate, cementing Ukraine’s ties with the West and landing a blow at the Kremlin goal in invading Ukraine: to bring it closer to Moscow.

Ukrainian President

Volodymyr Zelensky

has engaged in a flurry of diplomatic activity ahead of the decision on Thursday by the bloc’s heads of states to approve Ukraine’s candidacy.

“I will do my best to ensure that the historic decision of the European Union is adopted,” said Mr. Zelensky in an address late Tuesday. “This is important for us.”

Smoke billowed from a fire at a gas-processing plant on Tuesday, after the facility was hit by shelling in Andriivka in the Kharkiv region of northern Ukraine.

Photo:

LEAH MILLIS/REUTERS

Write to Bojan Pancevski at bojan.pancevski@wsj.com, Drew Hinshaw at drew.hinshaw@wsj.com and Thomas Grove at thomas.grove@wsj.com

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