Moscow said on Wednesday that Ukrainian artillery had struck oil refineries in Russia, in one of multiple strikes on Russian soil in recent days.
Dramatic video footage shared on social media showed the impact of the strikes, supporting Russia’s claims despite silence from Kyiv.
The news came as multiple regional governors in Russia reported damage to civilian and industrial infrastructure in the country.
The Kyiv Independent, an independent news outlet in Ukraine, reported that a fire broke out at the Afipsky oil refinery in the southern Krasnodor region on May 31, with regional Governor Veniamin Kondratyev suggesting that the damage was likely caused by a drone strike.
Video footage shows the moment a huge fireball erupted at the site of the refinery.
Russian authorities said that two oil refineries were targeted in the strikes, though they did not immediately blame Ukraine for the strikes.
Fires at the Afipsky refinery were eventually distinguished, but a drone later crashed into the Ilsky refinery without causing damage.
The Afipsky strike reportedly disabled the plant at 2:59am local time.
Both strikes also came just one day after the Kremlin accused Ukraine of launching fresh drone strikes on the Kremlin. Previously, two attack drones were intercepted over Kremlin buildings in Moscow on May 3. Russia accused Ukraine of launching the strikes, and while some analysts argued that Russia may have launched the strikes as part of a false flag operation to justify new attacks in Ukraine, the latest strikes could indicate that Ukraine’s planned counteroffensive is now well underway.
Analysts speculated that the strikes are part of shaping operations – a period of shaping the battlefield ahead of a new offensive – that Kyiv has been plotting for weeks as part of the long-rumored counteroffensive. The strikes may also be a retaliation to Russian strikes last week that targeted an oil refinery near Kharkiv.
The governor of a town close to the Russia-Ukraine border also said on Wednesday that Ukrainian strikes caused damage to buildings, ignited several vehicles, and injured four people.
Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Shebekino, Belgorod, said on Telegram that Ukrainian forces struck civilian infrastructure in the third strike in the last week.
The latest strikes come after Gladkov said on Monday that Ukrainian forces targeted industrial facilities in the town, which borders the Kharkiv region of Ukraine, using artillery fire.
Ukraine did not immediately respond to the accusations, though both Kyiv and Moscow have repeatedly denied deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure.
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Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.