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Explosions, fires reported overnight deep in Russian rear in alleged long-range Ukrainian strikes

by The Kyiv Independent news desk January 21, 2024 3:31 PM 2 min read
A fire at the terminal of Russia's Novatek natural gas company on Jan. 21, 2024. (Governor Alexander Drozdenko)
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Explosions and large fires were reported in several Russian cities overnight on Jan. 21, in a possible coordinated effort by Ukraine to strike key targets deep inside Russian territory.

The terminal of Russia's Novatek natural gas company caught fire in the port of Ust-Luga in Leningrad Oblast near St Petersburg, Governor Alexander Drozdenko reported on Telegram.

No casualties were reported by local authorities but other Russian media sources suggested that 150 people had to be evacuated.

Novatek is the largest independent natural gas producer in Russia. The fire was still ongoing as of 9 a.m. local time, according to Drozdenko.

The explosions in Ust-Luga were a result of a planned operation by the Security Service of Ukraine, according to an unnamed source in the agency cited by Ukrainska Pravda.

Other attacks were reported overnight on Jan. 21 in Russia's Tula, Smolensk, and Oryol oblasts, targeting infrastructure critical to the Russian military.

The Russian Defense Ministry accused Ukraine of launching multiple drone attacks and claimed that one drone was shot down over Tula, four over Smolensk, and one over Oryol.

Citing its sources in Ukraine's special services, news outlet Suspilne reported that the Shcheglovskiy Val plant in Tula, where Pantsir mobile air defense systems for the Russian military are produced, was one of the targets.

The Smolensk Aviation Plant, which produces Kh-59 cruise missiles used to frequently target Ukraine was hit in the overnight attack, Hromadske reported, citing its source in Ukraine's military intelligence agency (HUR).

Smolensk Oblast Governor Vasily Anokhin denied that there were casualties or property damage during the drone attack.

The plant was previously hit in October and November 2023.

A source from HUR confirmed to Ukrainska Pravda that the agency was also behind the attacks in Oryol and Tula.

Since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, multiple attacks have been reported across Russian territory. Ukraine does not always claim responsibility for these attacks.

An overnight drone attack that hit an oil depot near St Petersburg was carried out by Ukraine's military intelligence agency (HUR), Ukrainska Pravda reported on Jan. 18, citing a source in intelligence.

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