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Ukrainian drone sparks fire at Russian refinery: Governor

Workers repair a damaged residential building following a drone attack in Moscow.

Russia has blamed Ukraine for a fire at an oil refinery in the south of the country, saying the blaze was likely caused by a Ukrainian drone striking the facility.

The fire that broke out at the Afipsky oil refinery was likely caused by a Ukrainian drone strike, said Krasnodar Governor Veniamin Kondratyev in a Telegram post on Wednesday.

He further noted that the refinery fire was quickly extinguished by emergency services and that there were no casualties.

The Afipsky oil refinery, near the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk in the Krasnodar region, has been attacked several times this month.

There was no immediate information on who launched the drone but Moscow has accused Kiev of increased attacks inside Russia in recent weeks.

Ukrainian authorities have never publicly confirmed Kiev’s attacks against targets inside Russia, but top Ukrainian officials have occasionally welcomed news of successful drone strikes on Russian soil.

Separately, Belgorod’s Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a Telegram post on Tuesday that Ukrainian forces have shelled the border town of Shebekino for the third time in a week, leaving at least four people wounded.

Gladkov blamed Kiev for the artillery strike, adding that two of the injured were hospitalized in serious condition.

He also noted that the shelling had damaged buildings and set vehicles on fire.

Ukrainian authorities have not yet reacted to the reported attack.

The latest developments came a day after both Ukraine and Russia reported that their capitals have been targeted by drones coming from the other side.

Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said the drones have caused minor damage to two residential buildings, emphasizing that no one was seriously hurt as he ordered the evacuation of residents from the two apartment blocks that were targeted.

Ukrainian officials also claimed that “massive” Russian drone raids on Kiev have killed one person and injured four more, but later explained that the casualties resulted from “falling debris” of shot-down drones.

Russia began what it described as a "special military operation" in Ukraine on February 24, 2022 as part of a national security measure against the persisting eastern advance of the US-led NATO military alliance.

Moscow also said the military operation was aimed at defending the pro-Russia population in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk against persecution by Kiev, and also to "de-Nazify" Ukraine.

Since the start of the war, the US and its Western allies have been providing Kiev with military equipment worth tens of billions of dollars. Western weapons supplied to Kiev include advanced missile systems, armored vehicles, tanks, and communication systems.

Long-range attack drones have been also added to the list of Western weapons supplied to the Ukrainian forces fighting against Russian troops.

Russia has repeatedly warned against flooding Ukraine with weapons, insisting the massive shipments of armaments to Kiev will only prolong the conflict.

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