While all eyes were on the small drone attack against Kremlin buildings in Moscow yesterday, given Russian allegations of an assassination attempt against President Putin, a separate but very significant cross-border strike was reported in southern Russia overnight.
Multiple drones targeted an oil refinery in southern Russia, resulting in a large fire. "Four drones were used in an attack on an oil refinery in the Krasnodar Region, where an oil storage reservoir caught fire on Thursday night," TASS reports. The Kremlin is blaming Washington and Kiev's Western backers for the cross-border operation.
"There were four [drones]. The fire was extinguished. One drone did not explode, it fell down and now a [controlled] detonation of it will take place," the state publication said. It happened at around 3am, resulting in no casualties, and emergency responders reportedly extinguished the blaze, with authorities announcing "no threat to the population."
The last weeks have seen a noticeable uptick in cross-border drone attacks out of Ukraine on key Russian infrastructure, including oil facilities and even trains of late.
In the wake of this latest, the Russian Foreign Ministry vowed that "Moscow will quickly deal with Kiev's terrorist and subversive activities," according to Al Jazeera.
But what's "new" about this attack on the oil refinery is that the Kremlin is very directly pointing the finger at the United States for helping the Ukrainians conduct the attack:
Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Kyiv could not have carried out the attack without Washington’s involvement.
"Attempts to disown this — both in Kyiv and in Washington — are, of course, absolutely ridiculous," the Kremlin spokesman said, Russian news agency TASS reported.
"We know very well that decisions on such actions, on such terrorist attacks, are not made in Kyiv. Namely, in Washington. And Kiev is already doing what what he is told to do," he added. Russia has not presented any evidence backing up its claims that Ukraine and the U.S. were behind the drone attack.
HAPPENING NOW‼️— SANTINO (@MichaelSCollura) May 4, 2023
Drone attack sparks Russia
oil refinery fire:
The alleged incident joins a string of recent drone attacks announced by Russia, including what it said was an attempt to assassinate President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday#RussianUkrainianWar… pic.twitter.com/GXkNiZO1Cu
In a simultaneous blistering statement also aimed at Washington on Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the US and its allies are ultimately responsible for the actions of the Kiev regime.
"They destroyed the lawful government in Ukraine [in 2014], put crooks and bandits in charge, provided them with money and weapons, imbued them with a sense of absolute impunity and provided political cover and military support," Zakharova said, asserting further that Russia holds "Washington, London, and NATO in general" accountable for Ukrainian leadership's actions. But more and more of Moscow's "red lines" have been incrementally crossed, and so far it looks like the Kremlin has remained somewhat restrained. However, some are calling for going gloves off on "Zelensky and his clique".