Explosion Hits Oil Refinery Deep Inside Russia After Suspected Drone Strike


A fire broke out in an oil refinery in southern Russia, 200 miles from the border with Ukraine, following a drone strike, local authorities have said.

The blaze at the Lukoil site in Volgograd comes amid reports of Kyiv stepping up its targeting of energy facilities in Russia. Volgograd regional governor Andrey Bocharov said on Telegram that Russian air defenses and electronic warfare (EW) systems had “repelled a drone attack” in the region overnight on Friday. As a result, “one drone fell and set off a fire at the Volgograd oil refinery.”

Unverified video on social media purports to show the moment of the strike, as a blast can be seen in the night sky over the Krasnoarmeysky district of the city, which borders Rostov oblast in the southwest and Voronezh oblast in the northwest. Newyork Verified has as yet been unable to verify the details of the footage and has contacted Lukoil for comment via email.

In sharing the clip, Ukrainian internal affairs adviser Anton Gerashchenko posted on X, formerly Twitter, that the oil refinery “is the largest producer of petroleum products in the Russian Southern Federal District,” with a reported capacity of 14.8 million tons.

Next to the video of the flames billowing into the air, pro-Ukrainian X user (((Tendar))) posted “that part of the facility won’t be operational for some time.”

Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said that petroleum products were burning over an area of around 3,200 square feet, but the blaze was quickly brought under control; there were no dead or injured, state news agency RIA Novosti reported.

Foreign security policy expert Giorgi Revishvili posted on X that “Ukrainia Armed Forces continue successful strikes deep inside Russia. The attrition of Russian high value targets will be far more devastating when Ukraine significantly increases drone production.”

Social-media users noted the increased frequency of drone strikes on Russian energy infrastructure over the last few weeks, which Kyiv often does not claim direct responsibility for.

On Wednesday, a drone caused an explosion at the Nevsky Mazut refinery in St. Petersburg, with reports that Russia used a S-400 surface-to-air missile system to intercept it but it still flew another 20 miles to hit its target.

“What makes this attack interesting is that the incident is in St Petersburg of all places, which is a very long way from Ukraine,” said U.K.-based drone expert Steve Wright about Wednesday’s strike on Vladimir Putin’s home city.

“I very much doubt that it flew all the way from there, so that which raises many interesting questions about from where it was launched,” he told Newyork Verified, suggesting options included Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania or even within Russia.

January saw a number of other drone strikes hitting Russian oil facilities with sites in Krasnodar, Bryansk, Oryol and Leningrad oblasts all targeted.

This illustrative image shows a Russian multinational energy corporation Lukoil depot of Neder-Over-Heembeek in Brussels, Belgium. A Lukoil refinery in Volgograd, Russia, was struck by a drone on February 3, 2024 in the latest attack…

Thierry Monasse/Getty Images