Ukraine super-drones can now fly more than 1,000km, says minister after 'hit' on oil refinery deep in Russia

Ukraine has developed super-drones which can fly more than 1,000km, a minister said, after a big oil refinery was hit deep inside Russia.

The drone attacks by Ukraine reportedly hit Russia’s third biggest oil refinery and a drone factory nearly 800 miles (1,200km) from the frontline, say military sources.

A unit that processes about 155,000 barrels of crude a day was said to have been struck though an industry source said it had caused no critical damage.

The drones attacked targets in Tatarstan, a highly industrialised region south-east of Moscow, in the early hours, Tatarstan’s head Rustam Minnikhanov said.

There were reports of several people being injured.

A Kyiv intelligence source said a centre had been hit where Russia produces long-range “Shahed” attack drones used to bomb Ukraine.

He added that significant damage was done to a military target.

Unconfirmed video footage appeared to show a light aircraft having been turned into a drone for the attack.

Industrial sites were also targeted.

"Most of the drones that attacked Russian refineries have a range of 700 to 1,000 km, but now there are models that can fly more than 1,000 km," Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation Mykhailo Fedorov told German news outlet Welt.

Ukraine is seeking to build a million drones this year, with a growing fleet of the unmanned aircraft which can strike at ultra-long distances.

Unconfirmed video footage appeared to show a light aircraft having been turned into a drone for the attack. (X)
Unconfirmed video footage appeared to show a light aircraft having been turned into a drone for the attack. (X)

Russian electronic warfare defences intercepted a Ukrainian drone near Tatneft’s Taneco refinery, one of Russia’s biggest, in Nizhnekamsk, the RIA state news agency reported.

A fire broke out at the refinery that was extinguished within 20 minutes, it added, insisting that production was not disrupted.

Pictures from the scene indicated the drone hit the primary refining unit, CDU-7, at the Taneco refinery.

Tatneft's Taneco refinery has an annual production capacity of more than 17 million tons (340,000 barrels per day).

Brent briefly rose above $89 (nearly £71) a barrel for the first time since October amid concern over the Ukrainian drone attacks and the escalating conflict in the Middle East.

It was one of Ukraine’s deepest drone attacks into Russian territory.

An explosion following the attack (X)
An explosion following the attack (X)

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky is seeking to build an arsenal of a million drones this year.

Britain, which has led the West in arming Ukraine, is supplying drones to Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin’s military has used drones to target Ukraine’s energy sector.

While Ukraine has struck deep inside Russia including Moscow.

The Taneco oil refinery is one of Russia’s largest and newest. Its production capacity stands at around 360,000 barrels per day.

Mr Minnikhanov said that sites in Yelabuga and Nizhnekamsk were attacked.

Two drones attacked a dormitory on the territory of the Alabuga Special Economic Zone. At least seven people were injured, Russian media reported.

“There is no serious damage, the technological process of the enterprises is not disrupted,” Mr Minnikhanov said.

Unverified footage on social media showed a loud blast followed by people running for cover.

The Washington Post reported last year that Russia was mass producing drones at a plant in the Alabuga Special Economic Zone.

On the battlefield, Russian troops were said to be making limited progress in a number of areas of the frontline in the Donetsk province of eastern Ukraine.

However, a battalion-sized mechanized assault near Avdiivka was reported to have failed with Putin’s army said to have lost 12 tanks and eight infantry fighting vehicles.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Kyiv was trying to divert attention from its military setbacks by attempting to strike the Russian territory "to persuade its West allies that it remains capable to confront the Russian military."

Speaking during a meeting with the top military brass, Shoigu claimed Russian troops have gained more than 400 square kilometers (some 155 square miles) since the start of the year.

Mr Fedorov has stressed that Ukraine is seeking to build a state-of-the-art " army of drones " and that its value to the war effort will be evident by the end of this year. Ukraine trained more than 10,000 new drone pilots last year, he said.

Ukraine has also developed deadly sea drones that have struck Russian navy ships in the Black Sea.

Those successful strikes have embarrassed the Kremlin, and on Tuesday Putin signed a decree to appoint Admiral Alexander Moiseyev as the new navy chief, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Putin also named Vice Admiral Sergei Pinchuk as the new commander of the navy's Black Sea Fleet after the dismissal of his predecessor, Admiral Viktor Sokolov.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's air force said Tuesday it intercepted nine out of 10 Shahed drones launched overnight by Russia in the latest attack on the country's power grid.