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Ukrainian drone attack damaged Russia's only full-cycle metallurgical enterprise, source says

by Kateryna Hodunova July 3, 2024 1:35 PM 2 min read
A crane lifts bound lengths of steel rod in a storage area at the Oskol Electrometallurgical Plant, operated by Metalloinvest Holding Co., in Stary Oskol, Russia, on Nov. 26, 2021. (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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A Ukrainian drone attack on July 1 seriously damaged the Oskol Electrometallurgical Plant in Belgorod Oblast, a military intelligence source told the Kyiv Independent on July 3.

Ukrainian forces regularly conduct drone strikes and sabotage acts on Russian territory, targeting military assets, oil refineries, and industrial facilities.

The plant is located in the area of the Stariy Oskol city, nearly 115 km (72 miles) from the Ukraine-Russia border. It is the only full-cycle metallurgical enterprise in Russia, according to the source.

The facility is vital for the Russian military-industrial complex, the source noted.

The operation was reportedly carried out jointly by Ukraine's military intelligence agency (HUR) and the Foreign Intelligence Service. The source described the scale of damage from the Ukrainian attack as "serious."

Work at the plant was suspended after Ukrainian "kamikaze" drones hit two major power substations near the villages of Neznamovo and Volokonovskoye in Belgorod Oblast.

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The Metallurgicheskaya substation near the Volokonovskoye village is one of the largest power substations in Europe, the source said.

The strikes resulted in a complete blackout at the plant, shutting down all electric arc furnaces with frozen metal inside. The furnaces need to be completely cleaned and the arc elements to be replaced to restart. It could take several months, the source told the Kyiv Independent.

"Some of the plant's employees believe that the furnaces will have to be replaced with new ones. Considering that the plant was built by German specialists using German technology, it will likely be difficult to restart the plant's operations without their participation," the source added.

The facility produces high-quality steel, including alloyed specialty steels (SBQ), for the automotive and mechanical engineering industries. It uses the blast-free direct reduction technology MIDREX and electric arc melting.

The plant's products are used by GAZ, UAZ, and KamAZ, among other Russian military-industrial enterprises.

The Oskol Electrometallurgical Plant, as well as its owner, Metalloinvest company, were included in the sanctions lists of the U.S. and U.K. in April 2023 in light of Russia's aggression in Ukraine.

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