Ukraine war

Ukrainian drones strike Russian oil refineries, NORSI on fire

Ukrainian drones strike Russian oil refineries, NORSI on fire
Ukrainian servicemen from the 108th Brigade of Territorial Defence prepare to fly a Ukraine-made multi-purpose drone Leleka-100 on a field near a frontline in the direction of Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, 15 February 2024, amid the Russian invasion. Russian troops entered Ukrainian territory on 24 February 2022, starting a conflict that has provoked destruction and a humanitarian crisis. EPA-EFE/KATERYNA KLOCHKO

MOSCOW, March 12 (Reuters) - Ukraine pounded targets across Russia on Tuesday with at least 25 drones and nine rockets, in a sweeping attack that one Russian official said had triggered a fire at a major refinery in the world's second largest oil exporter.

Russia and Ukraine have both used drones to strike critical infrastructure, military installations and troop concentrations in their more than two-year war, with Kyiv hitting Russian refineries and energy facilities in recent months.

Russia’s defence ministry said it had downed 25 Ukrainian drones over Russian regions including Moscow, Leningrad, Belgorod, Kursk, Bryansk, Tula and Oryol.

Russian officials reported attacks on a slew of energy facilities, including a fire at Lukoil’s LKOH.MM NORSI refinery and a drone destroyed on the outskirts of the town of Kirishi, home to Russia’s second largest oil refinery.

Gleb Nikitin, governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region, posted a picture of the NORSI refinery and said emergency services were working to put out a fire there.

“A fuel and energy complex facility was attacked by unmanned aerial vehicles,” Nikitin said on Telegram. Russian Telegram channels said a crude distillation unit at the refinery had been damaged and was on fire.

Lukoil did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The NORSI refinery can process about 17 million metric tons of oil per year, or 340,000 barrels per day. It typically produces 11% of Russia’s gasoline.

Domestic gasoline prices are sensitive for motorists and farmers in the world’s biggest wheat exporter ahead of a March 15-17 presidential election. Russia imposed a six-month ban on gasoline exports on March 1.



The Baza Telegram channel, which is close to Russian law enforcement, said Lukoil’s Nizhny Novgorod refinery had also been hit, and showed pictures of a plume of black smoke rising into the air and a major fire.

Reuters could not independently verify the report.

Russia’s defence ministry said Ukraine had fired eight RM-70 rockets and one Tochka-U missile at the Belgorod region, where some Russian war correspondents said there had also been an attempt by armed groups to cross into Russian territory.

At least two Ukraine-based armed groups purporting to be made up of Russians opposed to the Kremlin said on their social media pages they had launched an incursion across the Russian border on Tuesday. Reuters could not independently verify the claims.

Oryol region’s Governor Andrei Klychkov said Ukraine had launched a drone attack at a fuel facility in the region, with the RIA news agency citing emergency services as saying one petroleum tank was on fire following the attack.

The governor later said firefighters, who were shown spraying plumes of foam, had put out the fire at an oil storage facility in the region.

At least 17 people from high-rise buildings near the site where the drone crashed were reported to have been evacuated to a temporary accommodation centre.

Officials in several regions continued to report drone attacks after the defence ministry statement. No casualties were reported in the attacks.

One drone flying towards Moscow had been downed over the Ramensky district near the capital, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Telegram.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge in Moscow and Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Lincoln Feast, Andrew Osborn and Jan Harvey)


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Great!! Send drones and rockets to bomb the disgusting Kremlin and hope that the evil Putin mass-murderer with so much blood on his wicked hands is there and a fatally. Let him taste his own medicine – that would be justice for the many many hundreds of thousands murdered.

  • Rae Earl says:

    Never ever thought I’d be happy to see a friend of South Africa’s being attacked and bombed. Ramaphosa and Naledi Pandor will no doubt set up a commission to analyse the situation before sending our troops in to assist Putin. Wonder if Putin would supply them with arms seeing ours are all broken or have been stolen stolen by comrades. and cadres. Zelenski and his superb defence force make me feel really good and have my best wishes in flattening the ANC’s good friends.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Become a Maverick Insider

This could have been a paywall

On another site this would have been a paywall. Maverick Insider keeps our content free for all.

Become an Insider
Elections24 Newsletter Banner

On May 29 2024, South Africans will make their mark in another way.

Get your exclusive, in-depth Election 2024 newsletter curated by Ferial Haffajee delivered straight to your inbox.