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UK Defense Ministry: Russia might lose at least 10% of its refinery capacity after drone attacks

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 23, 2024 6:47 PM 2 min read
Illustrative photo of flames come out of the tower of an oil refinery plant. (Christophe Gateau/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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Drone attacks on Russia's oil refineries are likely to have disrupted at least 10% of the country's refinery capacity, the U.K. Defense Ministry said in its latest report on March 23.

In the past weeks, Ukrainian forces have launched a series of drone strikes aimed at damaging Russia's oil industry. A total of 12 Russian oil refineries were successfully hit in multiple regions deep inside Russian territory as of March 17, Ukrainska Pravda reported, citing an unnamed source in the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

Depending on the extent of the damage, major repairs at Russian refineries could take "considerable time and cost," which can be increased due to sanctions, the report said.  

The U.K. Defense Ministry doubts that Moscow will be able to protect oil refineries after Russian officials announced plans to deploy Pantsir air defense systems.

"However, given the size and scale of Russia's energy industry, it is unlikely that Russia will be able to protect all the vulnerable facilities," the report said.

Ukraine's recent drone attacks knocked out about 600,000 barrels of Russia's daily oil-refining capacity, as estimated by Torbjorn Tornqvist, the director of the international energy commodities trading company Gunvor Group, Bloomberg reported on March 18.

Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna said on March 22 that Russia's oil refineries are "absolutely legitimate targets" for the Ukrainian military. Her statement followed media reports that the U.S. had asked Ukraine to stop attacking the Russian oil industry.

Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak denied the reports, saying Kyiv did not receive any such calls from Washington.

Ukrainian drones hit one Russian oil refinery after another
Ukraine faces a challenging problem: how to stop a resurgent Moscow in its tracks long enough to rotate the troops, resupply, and fortify. Part of the answer is playing out right now in the skies over Russia. Over the past two weeks, at least dozens of Ukrainian drones reportedly struck

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