Russia has blamed Ukraine for setting ablaze one of its oil refineries, while Kyiv has accused Moscow of launching dozens of overnight strikes by unmanned aerial vehicles for the second day running.
The targeting of the fuel facility on Thursday occurred at the Ilsky refinery near the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk in the Krasnodar region, Russia’s TASS news agency reported citing local emergency services. A fuel reservoir was on fire, it said, but gave no further details.
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A day earlier, a fuel depot further to the west caught fire near a bridge linking Russia’s mainland with the occupied Crimean Peninsula.
“A second turbulent night for our emergency services,” Krasnodar Governor Veniamin Kondratyev wrote on Telegram, confirming tanks with oil products were set ablaze.
There were no casualties and the fire had been extinguished, he said.
The alleged attack came only hours after Russia accused Kyiv of targeting the Kremlin in a drone strike. Moscow accused Kyiv of trying to assassinate President Vladimir Putin, the most dramatic charge Russia has levelled against Ukraine since it invaded Ukraine.
Kyiv rarely claims responsibility for what Moscow says are frequent drone strikes against infrastructure and military targets, particularly in regions close to Russia.
Moscow blamed Ukraine for an attack on April 29 that set fire to an oil depot in Sevastopol. Kyiv’s military says undermining Russia’s logistics is part of preparations for a long-expected counteroffensive.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian air force on Thursday said Russia was responsible for up to 24 drone attacks overnight, 18 of which were shot down.
“The invaders launched up to 24 Shahed-136/131 attack drones … The Air Force of Ukraine, in co-operation with other air defence units, shot down 18 attack drones,” the air force said on Telegram.
The latest blasts were reported less than 24 hours after Kyiv said 21 people died in a Russian strike on the city of Kherson.
Zelenskyy in the Netherlands
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived at Amsterdam’s airport late on Wednesday for an unannounced visit to the Netherlands, with a trip to the International Criminal Court in The Hague on his agenda, local media reported.
Dutch news agency ANP said Zelenskyy, on his first visit to the Netherlands, landed at Schiphol airport after attending a Nordic summit in Helsinki.
The Ukrainian president is also expected to deliver a speech in The Hague entitled “No peace without justice for Ukraine”, according to public broadcaster NOS.
A meeting with Dutch MPs is planned, as well as talks with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the ANP reported, citing unnamed sources.
The Netherlands has pledged financial and military support to Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February 2022.