Audacious Ukrainian drone attacks keep doing massive damage to Russia's oil industry

  • Ukraine is intensifying drone attacks on targets deep inside Russia.

  • The strikes are doing serious damage to Russia's oil and gas sector.

  • Bloomberg reported that Russia's oil refining was at an 11-month low.

Ukraine launched a new wave of long-range drone strikes on oil depots in Russia this week as part of a campaign targeting the Kremlin's critical infrastructure.

Drones sent by Ukraine's security service hit two Rosneft-owned oil depots in Russia's Smolensk region on Wednesday, multiple outlets reported, citing a Ukrainian intelligence source.

A source in the Ukrainian defense sector told Agence France-Presse that the depots stored 26,000 cubic meters of fuel.

Metallurgical and pharmaceutical plants in Lipetsk in southwest Russia have also been attacked, reports say.

"These facilities are — and will remain — absolutely legitimate targets," the source told AFP.

The attacks are part of an intensifying Ukrainian campaign to strike energy infrastructure targets deep within Russia's borders.

Ukraine has managed to strike not just oil depots in western Russia, near Ukraine's border, but also in northern Russia hundreds of miles away.

The attacks have impacted Russia's oil and gas production, the industry that's at the core of its economy and has funded its invasion of Ukraine.

Bloomberg earlier this week reported that Russia's oil refining was at an 11-month low because of flooding and Ukraine's drone campaign. In April, Russia processed 5.22 million barrels of crude oil a day, 10,000 fewer barrels than normal, the report said.

Ukraine's attacks on Russian oil depots are one of the few bright spots in its war in recent months.

It continues to face serious setbacks on the front line, where its troops are suffering ammunition and artillery shortages.

There is some hope, however. The release of a $61 billion US aid bill could see Western military equipment begin to reach Ukraine in the next few days.

Reports say Ukraine is resisting pressure from its key international ally, the US, to decrease the oil-depot attacks amid concern that it could increase oil prices and damage Joe Biden's reelection chances.

The Ukrainian attacks come as Russia steps up its strikes on Ukraine's infrastructure, including hitting power stations, ports, and cities.

The Institute for the Study of War, a US think tank, said Tuesday that Ukraine's actions were denting Russia's oil sector but had yet to have a significant impact on global energy markets.

"Future Ukrainian drone strikes may disable and disrupt more of Russia's refining capacity and inflict critical constraints on Russian refining that begin to substantially impact Russia's production of distillate products," the analysts said.

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