Russian Novatek gas plant halts operations after suspected Ukrainian drone attack

The terminal of Russia's Novatek natural gas company near St. Petersburg has halted operations after an alleged Ukrainian drone attack caused a large fire at the fuel plant, Bloomberg reported on Jan. 21.

Novatek's gas-condensate plant caught fire at the port of Ust-Luga in Russia's Leningrad Oblast following a possible coordinated effort by Ukraine to strike key targets on deep inside Russian territory, Ukrainian media reported. Ukrainian officials have yet to comment on the alleged attacks that caused explosions and large fires in several Russian cities overnight on Jan. 21.

On Sunday, Russia's Defense Ministry accused Ukraine of launching multiple drone attacks and claimed that one drone was shot down over Tula, four over Smolensk, and one over Oryol.

No casualties were reported by local authorities but other Russian media sources suggested that 150 people had to be evacuated.

Novatek is the largest independent natural gas producer in Russia. According to Bloomberg, the plant processes stable gas-condensate - a byproduct of natural gas - into oil, while also exporting oil products to international markets.

On Jan. 18, Ukrainian intelligence sources alleged that an overnight drone attack that hit an oil depot near St. Petersburg was carried out by Ukraine's military intelligence agency. Ukraine does not always directly claim responsibility for attacks inside Russian territory.

Read also: Explosions, fires reported overnight deep in Russian rear in alleged long-range Ukrainian strikes

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