Russia says Ukraine makes 60-drone attack on Russia, oil refinery halted

Russia says Ukraine makes 60-drone attack on Russia, oil refinery halted
Russia says Ukraine makes 60-drone attack on Russia, oil refinery halted
MOSCOW: Ukraine fired nine US ATACMS in Crimea and attacked Russian regions with at least 60 drones in a major attack that forced one oil refinery in southern Russia to halt operations, Russian officials said on Sunday.

Russian air defenses shot down nine ATACMS missiles over Crimea along with 57 drones over Russia’s Krasnodar region and three drones over Belgorod region, the defense ministry said.

Local officials said six drones crashed onto the territory of an oil refinery in Slavyansk in Russia’s southern Krasnodar region. Interfax news agency said the refinery halted work after the attack.

TASS quoted an official at the refinery as saying the charges carried by the Ukrainian-launched drones were bigger than previous attacks and that they included steel balls.

Slavyansk refinery is a private plant with a capacity of 4 million metric tons of oil per year, about 1 million bpd.

There was no immediate comment from Kyiv.

Russia has reported a rise in Ukrainian attacks on its territory since its forces opened a new front in northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region earlier this month.

President Vladimir Putin says Russia is carving out a buffer zone there to protect Russia from such attacks, which Russia says risk triggering a broader war between Russia and the West if Ukraine uses Western weapons.

Putin said on Friday that Russia had no plans currently to take Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city,

The White House said on Friday that US policy on not encouraging Ukaine’s use of US weapons against Russian sovereign territory had not changed.

“We do not encourage nor do we enable attacks using US-supplied weapons systems inside Russian territory. That’s the policy,” John Kirby, the White House national security spokesperson, told reporters. “That has not changed.”

That remark came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday in Kyiv that the United States does not encourage Ukraine to strike targets inside Russia with US-supplied weapons but believes it is a decision Kyiv should make for itself.

Russia said on Saturday its forces had captured the village of Starytsia in Kharkiv region and that they had defeated Ukrainian units along the front, including in the Sumy region.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and along with parts of four other regions its forces control, considers the territories – which amount to about 18% of Ukraine – to be part of Russia now. That stance has been rejected by Ukraine and its Western allies.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says he will not rest until all Russian troops are ejected from Ukraine.

Zelenskiy told Agence France-Presse in an interview that he expected Russia to step up its offensive in the northeast and warned Kyiv had only a quarter of the air defenses it needs to defend Ukraine.

AFP also quoted him as saying that while the West did not want Ukraine to lose the war, it was afraid of what a defeat for Russia might mean.

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