Russia says it repelled multiple drone attackson March 17, 2024 at 5:53 am

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Dozens of drones were intercepted, Russia says, but one attack caused an oil refinery fire in Krasnodar.

Slavyansk oil refinery in the KubanImage source, Getty Images

Russia’s defence ministry says its forces have destroyed dozens of drones in several regions across the country.

The biggest attack happened in the southern Russian region of Krasnodar, where an oil refinery was targeted.

In Ukraine officials report new Russian air strikes on the port city of Odesa.

The attacks come as Russia holds a controversial general election in which President Vladimir Putin is guaranteed to win.

Vladimir Rogov, a Russian-installed leader in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, said on Sunday that two Ukrainian drones had attacked a polling station – setting the building on fire but causing no deaths or injuries.

Earlier, Krasnodar authorities said 17 drones had been launched against the oil refinery in Slavyansk-on-Kuban and had been neutralised, but one sparked the fire as it fell.

No deaths were reported as a result of the fire, which has been extinguished.

One person is thought to have died of a heart attack during the strike.

It is the sixth oil refinery attacked in Russia over the past week.

Meanwhile, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin wrote on Telegram that four drones were downed in different areas while flying towards the capital early on Sunday.

Four drones were also intercepted in the Yaroslavl region north of Moscow, the defence ministry reported.

Another area in the western Belgorod region, near northern Ukraine, has also come under attack, according to its governor.

Vyacheslav Gladkov said four drones dropped explosive devices in the village of Oktyabrsky – damaging electricity and gas supply lines. No casualties were reported.

Additional drone incidents were reported in the Kaluga, Oryol, Rostov and Kursk regions.

It is the second time Belgorod has come under attack this weekend.

On Saturday, at least two people were killed in a bombardment the authorities blamed on Ukraine. Shops and schools were closed afterwards as a safety precaution.

Russian authorities also said two oil depots were attacked by Ukrainian drones in the Samara region in western Russia.

President Putin has accused Ukraine of trying to disrupt his bid for another six-year term. He is certain to win because he has no credible opponent. The vote is described as neither free nor fair by critics.

There were also reports on Sunday of Russian multiple air strikes on the Ukrainian port city of Odesa – days after a double missile attack killed at least 20 people and left dozens more wounded.

According to Ukraine’s southern defence forces, 13 Iranian-made Shahed drones were shot down.

While no injuries were reported, the attack caused fires at two agricultural sites and destroyed buildings. The fires have since been put out.

Another drone was shot down in the Mykolaiv region.

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