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Ukraine war latest: Ukrainian drones hit oil refineries in two Russian regions

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 1, 2024 11:26 PM 6 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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Key updates on May 1:

  • Ukrainian drones attack oil refineries in Russia's Ryazan, Voronezh oblasts
  • Norway to allocate over $630 million for Ukrainian air defense, ammunition
  • Death toll of Russia's April 29 strike on Odesa rises to 6
  • Latvian FM: Some countries have provided Ukraine weapons with no restrictions on strikes in Russia
  • Russian attack on Hirnyk, Donetsk Oblast kills 2, injures at least 6

Drones operated by Ukraine's military intelligence agency (HUR) attacked the Ryazan Oil Refinery and a refinery in Voronezh Oblast overnight on May 1, a source in the agency told the Kyiv Independent.

The official was not authorized to talk to the press, as Ukraine rarely publicly takes responsibility for attacks deep inside Russia.

Russian authorities reported on drone strikes against the two oblasts earlier on May 1, with claims being spread on the Russian Telegram channels that the Ryazan refinery was on fire.

The first four explosions could be heard at the Ryazan refinery at around 2 a.m. local time, after which a large fire was seen on the facility's territory.

The Voronezh Oblast refinery was also presumably hit, the sources confirmed, without elaborating on the consequences.

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed its forces downed six Ukrainian drones overnight: three over Voronezh Oblast, one over Ryazan Oblast, one over Belgorod Oblast, and one over Kursk Oblast.

Ukrainian forces have recently launched a series of drone strikes aimed at damaging Russia's oil industry. Attacks against oil depots in Russia's Smolensk Oblast last week destroyed 26,000 cubic meters of fuel, security sources told the Kyiv Independent.

The Ryazan Oil Refinery, the largest plant operated by Rosneft, was reportedly also targeted on March 13.

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Norway to allocate over $630 million for Ukrainian air defense, ammunition

Oslo will increase aid to Ukraine by 7 billion Norwegian kroner (about $631 million), the bulk of which will support Kyiv's anti-aircraft and artillery ammunition supplies, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told the E24 news outlet on April 30.

Stoere previously said on April 21 that Norway would direct "significant sums" to Ukraine's air defense but did not specify the exact amount.

The new funds will primarily support military aid to Ukraine, with a smaller portion allocated to civilian financial aid, said Stoere.

Norway will partner with Germany, the U.S., and other allies to locate anti-aircraft ammunition to better protect Ukraine's skies. According to Stoere, air defense systems have already been produced and are ready to be delivered to Kyiv in the near future.

"Now it's about delivering fairly immediately on this with air defense," Stoere said.

"We get daily news that Ukrainians are waking up to apartment buildings, hospitals, and power plants being hit by Russian missiles. They must be able to defend themselves against this."

The funds will also support the Czech initiative to purchase artillery shells for Ukraine's front-line troops.

Norway has recently ramped up efforts to increase defense production, both for domestic needs and for aid to Ukraine. Oslo allocated 2 billion Norwegian kroner ($190 million) in January for Ukrainian aid.

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Ukraine has just received the second Skynex air defense system from Germany as part of the latest package of military aid, the German government announced on April 29. It’s the latest addition to Ukraine’s struggling air defenses, running low on ammunition due to delays in U.S. aid but bolstered

Death toll of Russia's April 29 strike on Odesa rises to 6

The death toll of a Russian missile attack against Odesa on April 29 has risen to six after an injured man died in the hospital, Mayor Hennadii Trukhanov said on May 1.

Russia launched a cluster munition-armed Iskander missile against Odesa late on April 29, injuring around 30 people.

"This (cluster munition) is an indiscriminate weapon, the use of which can lead to significant casualties among the civilian population," Prosecutor General Andrii Kostin said on April 30.

"The investigators have a reason to believe that the decision to use such a weapon was taken by the Russian military officers deliberately to kill as many Ukrainian civilians as possible."

Odesa Oblast and other southern regions of Ukraine are regular targets of Russian missile and drone attacks.

Most recently, Russian forces launched three Iskander-M ballistic missiles against the southern port city overnight on April 30-May 1, killing three people and injuring three others.

Latvian FM: Some countries have provided Ukraine weapons with no restrictions on strikes in Russia

Some of Ukraine's allies have sent weapons to Kyiv with no restrictions on strikes inside Russia, Latvian Foreign Minister Baiba Braze said in an interview with European Pravda published on May 1.

Ukraine has continued to press its Western allies for longer-range weapons, but partners have hesitated about delivering arms that could potentially be used to strike within Russian territory.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Kyiv will not use weapons supplied by foreign partners to hit targets outside of the country's borders. Such restrictions do not apply to domestically produced arms, some of which are reportedly capable of striking deep into Russia.

Braze said that Ukraine needs the capabilities to conduct "deep precision strikes," including against targets on Russian territory.

"Ukraine's (use of Western weapons) is permitted by international law. If there are facilities from which Russia is carrying out attacks on Ukraine, you have the right to respond," the Latvian minister said.

When asked whether the approach to the ban on foreign-made weapons strikes on Russian territory could change, Braze answered that "there are countries that have already provided Ukraine with weapons without such restrictions."

"Not everything is announced publicly, and it is even better not to say it out loud until a certain time. The main thing is the impact on the battlefield. Because there is a choice here — either to speak loudly about something or just to do what is necessary," the minister said.

Ukraine has received long-range missiles, such as the Storm Shadow from the U.K. and the French-made SCALP. The New York Times reported on April 25 that the U.S. had secretly sent more than 100 long-range ATACMS missiles to Kyiv.

Ukrainian forces reportedly successfully used them to strike targets on the Russian-occupied territories, including Crimea.

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Governor: 2 killed, 6 injured in Russian attack on Hirnyk, Donetsk Oblast

Russian troops attacked the town of Hirnyk in Donetsk Oblast on May 1, killing two people and injuring six, Governor Vadym Filashkin said, citing preliminary information.

Russia carried out the attack using Uragan multiple rocket launchers, killing a 57-year-old woman and a 64-year-old man, according to the governor.

Hirnyk is located some 50 kilometers west of the occupied city of Donetsk.

"The final information on the number of victims and the extent of damage will be established later," Filashkin said.

Donetsk Oblast, partially occupied by Russian forces since 2014, suffers regular attacks. Local officials report losses among the civilian population on a near-daily basis.

Russian forces attacked seven settlements in the region over the past day, including in the Pokrovsk, Kramatorsk, and Bakhmut districts, local authorities said. Two people were reportedly killed.

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