Drone strikes in Ukraine: Russian oil refineries hit as Kiev steps up drone attacks ahead of Putin's election

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Belgorod City Hall damaged after drone attacks on the city on Tuesday.



CNN

Ukraine launched drone attacks overnight on three oil refineries deep inside Russia, a Ukrainian defense source told CNN on Wednesday, as Kiev intensifies its cross-border strikes days before President Vladimir Putin's expected re-election.

The source told CNN that Ukraine is “implementing a well-planned strategy to reduce Russia's economic potential.”

The three targeted Russian oil refineries are located in the cities of Ryazan, about 130 miles southeast of Moscow; Kostovo, in the Nizhny Novgorod region, about 300 miles east of the capital; And Kirishi in northwestern Russia. The source said that the three facilities are among the largest refineries in Russia.

This was the second straight day of Ukrainian attacks on Russian energy sites, and the sites targeted represent a series of attacks inside Russian territory.

“Our goal is to seize our enemy’s resources and reduce the flow of oil and fuel money that Russia directly uses in the war,” the source told CNN.

They came after a chaotic day on the Russian side of the Ukrainian border, during which groups of pro-Ukrainian Russian fighters said they Cross-border attacks were launched They claimed to have taken control of the village of Tyutkino in Russia's Kursk region.

The regional governor said the village remained under fire “all day” on Wednesday.

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The Belgorod border region bore the brunt of Ukrainian cross-border attacks during the war.

The repercussions of the attack continued until Wednesday. The Freedom Corps of Russia, a group of Russian dissidents fighting for Ukraine that has previously claimed responsibility for incursions into Russia, said in a series of Telegram posts on Wednesday that its fighters destroyed a command center in the village of Tyutkino in Kursk. The region is progressing further.

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CNN cannot independently verify the group's claims. However, CNN was able to geolocate video footage posted by the group showing a building engulfed in smoke and flames located in Teotkino.

“There was a control center and there is no control center,” the group said. “We are bringing the crisis closer to the defense industry of the bloody regime.”

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that its air defenses destroyed 58 Ukrainian drones overnight, including some that traveled as far as the Leningrad region, which borders Finland, supporting Kiev's claims.

Ryazan regional governor Pavel Malikov said a fire broke out at the facility there but has since been extinguished. He added that two people were injured.

A video on social media from the refinery complex, one of Russia's largest, showed a large plume of smoke rising from a building in the distance.

The previous day, Russian authorities reported at least 25 drone attacks, with local officials in the Oryol and Nizhny Novgorod regions reporting casualties at fuel and energy facilities.

No injuries were reported as a result of Tuesday or Wednesday's attacks.

But the apparent cross-border incursion on Tuesday saw attacks in the village of Odnorubovka in Ukraine's Kharkiv region, and in the neighboring Russian villages of Nekhotivka and Spodaryushino in Belgorod, according to Russian authorities.

The governor of Russia's Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said 10 civilians were injured and six were taken to hospital in the region on Tuesday.

In the neighboring Kursk region, the Russian village of Tyukino came under fire “all day long” on Wednesday after pro-Ukrainian groups said they had taken control, the region's governor, Roman Starovoit, said.

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He added that a building and a warehouse were damaged.

“Once it is safe, a door-to-door inspection will be conducted in the village. We will definitely provide assistance to all owners of the damaged properties in their restoration,” Starovoit said.

In addition to targeting Russia's deep oil reserves, Kiev's recent strikes may be partly aimed at making Russians aware of the impact of war as the country prepares to hold a presidential election.

Voting is He is essentially certain to give Putin a fifth termHe extended his rule until the 1930s. The vote will take place over three days, starting on Friday, as the president heads toward another term in power in a vote that is not considered free or fair and does not face any real competition.

During a lengthy interview with state television channel Rossiya 1 on Wednesday, Putin said the Ukrainian attacks on Belgorod and Kursk were occurring amid Kiev's “failures” on the battlefield.

All this is happening against the backdrop of failures on the contact line, on the front line. “They did not achieve any of the goals they set for themselves last year,” Putin said. “Against the backdrop of these failures, they have to show at least something and, basically, attention should be focused on the information side of the matter.”

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