Dramatic footage has emerged from Russia of what appears to be a drone crashing into an oil refinery and setting off a fiery explosion in what could be an attack inside Russia’s borders.
Video shared on social media showed the unmanned aerial vehicle crashing into the Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery in what would be an embarrassing penetration of Russia’s air defence systems in its ongoing war in Ukraine.
Ukraine has used drones during the war but did not claim responsibility for the alleged attack.
Vasily Golubev, the governor of Russia’s Rostov region, appeared to confirm the incident, writing that fragments of two drones had been found on the territory of the Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery, where a large fire broke out on Wednesday morning.
Video published on Russian social network channels showed a drone approaching the oil refinery as workers looked on.
“Do you think it’s Ukrainian?” asked one.
“Of course not,” another answered.
“Where’d it go?” he added as the drone vanished from sight.
Moments later, a large explosion rocked the refinery.
“Fuck!” yelled the onlookers. As a fire began raging at the refinery, the unidentified cameraman said with a resigned tone: “That’s what’s happening, guys.”
Footage broadcast by Russian state television showed firefighters battling flames at the oil refinery, which halted production on Wednesday. Authorities claimed that the fire had been contained.
A number of bridges and other key infrastructure in Russia’s border regions have suffered damage since the Kremlin launched its new offensive against Ukraine in February. But, in most cases, Russia has not admitted that it has been the victim of sabotage or cross-border attacks that penetrated its defences.
If the attack at the refinery is confirmed, it would indicate that the drone was either launched from within Russia or that it had passed over Russian-controlled territory to reach the refinery, passing through Russian air defence systems along the way.
Nobody was injured in the incident at the oil refinery, the Rostov governor said.
However, in another incident on Wednesday, four people were killed in an explosion at an ammunition depot in Russia’s Vladimir region after an item “spontaneously detonated during a loading and unloading operation,” a Russian military press service said. Three of the victims were soldiers, while another was a civilian specialist.