Mass Drone Attack Unleashes Chaos, Air Raid Sirens Inside Russia
Russia has come under attack by multiple drones on Tuesday, with one of those drones reportedly causing a fire at an oil depot in the southern part of the country, and another hitting outside Moscow.
The attack on the oil facility happened in Tuapse, which lies about 150 miles southeast of the Crimean peninsula, with Reuters citing local media to report, "Emergency services put out a fire at an oil depot in southern Russia overnight after a drone was spotted flying overhead, the RIA news agency said on Tuesday." Crucially, Tuapse is about 500 kilometers from the nearest Ukrainian-held territory, which exhibits significant reach assuming the UAV was launched by the Ukrainians.
The fires which started at the facility at about 2:30am were extinguished after they spread to an area of some 200 square meters. "The oil tanks were not affected. There was no spill of oil products. No injuries," a local official, Sergei Boyko, described.
Another drone crashed in the Moscow region on the same day, with Governor Andrei Vorobyov saying it was likely an operation to target civilian infrastructure.
"This happened near the village of Gubastovo, the target was probably a civilian infrastructure facility, it was not damaged. There are no casualties or destruction on the ground," Vorobyov said on his Telegram channel, as translated by the Moscow Times.
"The FSB and other competent authorities are dealing with the situation, nothing threatens the safety of residents," he added. The Moscow Times notes that unverified reports said the drone was a Ukrainian UJ-22 Airborne manufactured by Ukrjet.
The Russian defense ministry in a statement made mention of another drone attack in southern Russia, close in time to the attack on the oil facility which it says was intercepted:
The attacks — in the Krasnodar and Adygea regions — had been "suppressed" and failed to inflict any damage, it said.
But it followed reports by Russian state news agencies of a fire at an oil depot in Krasnodar, around 240km south-east of the Crimean peninsula, after a drone was spotted flying overhead.
The Russian defense ministry stated that "The Kyiv regime attempted to use unmanned aerial vehicles to attack civilian infrastructure in the Krasnodar region and the Adygea Republic." It claimed further, "The UAVs were neutralized by electronic warfare units."
🧵 Air raid sirens & alerts all over Western #Russia including the #Moscow region appeared on TV and radio. "Attention! Attention! Air Raid Alert declared! Everyone must immediately seek shelter! ...Risk of a rocket strike!" pic.twitter.com/e0EPkz7XIp— Igor Sushko (@igorsushko) February 28, 2023
There may have additionally been a drone incident in the border area of the Belgorod region. The Daily Beast described it as a night of chaos for Russians:
The strikes were part of what local media described as a "mass drone attack" that appears to have intensified in the last 24 hours.
On Monday morning, residents of an apartment building in the Belgorod region, near the border with Ukraine, were forced to evacuate in the middle of the night after one of four drones crashed into the building, according to Baza. Another drone landed on the roof of a supermarket and exploded, scorching the premises.
⚡️Drones filled with explosives attacked the Rosneft oil depot in the Krasnodar Territory — Baza. pic.twitter.com/fustSjPUEj— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) February 28, 2023
And possibly another attempted attack in St. Petersburg:
Hours later, St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport came to a standstill as authorities shut down the surrounding airspace, reportedly in response to an "unidentified flying object" spotted in the area.
⚡️Ukrainian source Tpyxa claims this is a video of the drone that was over St.Petersburg.— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) February 28, 2023
Looks a bit like an RQ-4 pic.twitter.com/mkvmzPp9dQ
Amid all the local reports coming out of Russia, there were in total possibly half-a-dozen to a dozen or more inbound drones which had been sent against various Russian cities overnight into Tuesday.
This comes after a past year which witnessed a number of sporadic drone and alleged sabotage attacks on sensitive Russian facilities, including military bases, as Ukraine and its backers grow more emboldened.
One December investigative report written by a US special forces veteran said the CIA was behind many of the covert sabotage operations happening with increasing frequency on Russian soil. President Putin has recently said he sees the conflict in Ukraine and West-backed proxy war there as a fight for the survival of the Russian people, alluding to it as an 'existential threat' in fresh comments.
The timing of these fresh, brazen attacks on Russian appears significant, given that just within the last few days there's been some actual international momentum toward getting serious about an eventual brokered peace - this after China unveiled its 12-point plan for negotiated ceasefire on Friday. Will efforts at peace be sabotaged before a process can ever hope to get off the ground? If Russian soil keeps getting attacked, it's very unlikely the two sides will even come close to seriously contemplating negotiations.