Drone attack in Ukraine sets fire to Russian fuel depot and hits infrastructure, Kiev source says By Reuters

By Tom Balmforth and Olena Harmash

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine attacked eight Russian regions with dozens of long-range attack drones on Saturday morning, setting fire to a fuel depot and hitting three electricity substations, an intelligence source in Kiev told Reuters.

The overnight attack, confirmed by the Defense Ministry in Moscow, comes amid a campaign of Russian airstrikes that have targeted Ukraine’s energy system and hit its cities with missiles and drones in recent weeks.

Faced with growing pressure on the battlefield more than two years after Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine has sought to find a pressure point against the Kremlin by targeting oil refineries and energy facilities all over the country. inside Russia using drones.

“At least three electricity substations and a fuel storage base were hit, where fires broke out,” the Ukrainian source said, citing videos on social media showing fires raging in several places.

The source said the facilities were intended to support Russian military industrial production.

The Russian Defense Ministry said it shot down 50 Ukrainian drones, including 26 in the Belgorod region, 10 in the Bryansk region, eight in the Kursk region, two in the Tula region and one in each of the Smolensk, Ryazan regions, Kaluga and Moscow. .

Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, said two civilians were killed as a result of the drone attack.

The governor of Russia’s western Smolensk region said the drone attack attacked a fuel production plant in the Kardym region, hitting a tank with fuel and lubricating oil.

“As a result of the work of the air defense forces, the plane was shot down. However, due to falling debris, a tank with fuel and lubricating oil caught fire,” he said, adding that firefighters were struggling to turn off the plane. blaze.

It was unclear whether anyone was injured, he said.

Nearly 26 months after the 2022 invasion, Russia is slowly advancing into eastern Ukraine and has stepped up bombing of cities and towns behind the front lines.

Just this year, Ukraine has been attacked by nearly 1,200 missiles, more than 1,500 drones and 8,500 guided bombs amid a slowdown in Western military assistance, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Friday.

Unable to quickly produce long-range missiles and with limited access to those made by Western allies, Kiev has focused on developing long-range attack drones to fight back. Russia has a large arsenal of missiles and drones.

The nighttime drone attack was a joint operation conducted by the Ukrainian security service SBU, military intelligence agency GUR and special operations forces, the source said.

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