Ukraine drone flies record 930 miles to hit oil site deep inside Russia, say intelligence chiefs

Ukraine drone flies record 930 miles to hit oil site deep inside Russia, say intelligence chiefs

A Ukrainian attack drone flew a record 930 miles to hit an oil centre deep inside Russia, say intelligence chiefs.

The unmanned aircraft struck a Russian oil processing plant in the Bashkiria region on Thursday after flying a "record" distance of 1,500 km (932 miles) in an operation conducted by the SBU security service, according to a Kyiv intelligence source.

The drone hit a catalytic cracking unit at the Gazprom Neftekhim Salavat oil processing, petrochemical and fertiliser complex, the source said.

Russia confirmed damage at the plant, but said the facility was functioning as usual.

While stepping up its drone warfare, Ukraine is seeking to rush new weapons from the West to the frontline to stop Russian advances.

The first F-16 fighter jets supplied by the West are also due to arrive in Ukraine by June/July, according to a senior military source.

Drones launched by the SBU also struck two oil depots near the town of Anapa in Russia's southern Krasnodar region causing large-scale fires, a Ukrainian intelligence source added on Thursday.

The source said the oil depots were used as transshipment points to supply fuel to Russian troops in the nearby occupied peninsula of Crimea.

"The SBU will continue to reduce Russia's economic and logistics potential for waging war," the source said.

Ukraine says it is producing the same number of deep strike drones as Russia, claiming to have reached parity on a key type of weapon that Moscow has used for long-range attacks for much of its invasion.

Britain has supplied drone technology to Kyiv and Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has backed Ukraine using UK supplied weapons to strike inside Russia.

Unable to rapidly match Russia's vast arsenal of cruise and ballistic missiles, Kyiv has focused on developing and producing long-range drones so it can hit back at Russia, which has bombed Ukraine throughout the 26-month-old invasion.

"In 2024, Ukraine caught up with Russia in terms of the production number of kamikaze drones similar to the Shahed-131 and Shahed-136," Herman Smetanin, head of Ukraine's state arms manufacturer, told the defence ministry's media outlet, ArmyInform.

Shahed drones, which Kyiv says were initially procured from Iran before some production was localised in Russia's Tatarstan region, have become a staple of Russian air strikes since they were first used against Ukraine in the autumn of 2022.

The drones, which are packed with explosives and detonate on impact, are nicknamed "mopeds" by Ukrainians due to the whirring sound of their engines that can be heard flying in the sky.

Mr Smetanin said his comment about production numbers applied to other types of attack drone as well. He gave no figures.

Ukraine has launched dozens of drone attacks on oil refineries deep inside Russian territory this year and also targeted military facilities and the Black Sea Fleet on the Russian-occupied peninsula of Crimea.

Ukraine's military intelligence agency says that Russia is capable of producing up to 350 Shahed drones a month. Russia does not reveal production figures and regards such things as secret.

Kyiv is seeking to build a million drones this year.

Ukraine's air defence systems destroyed 17 out of 20 attack drones that Russia launched targeting Ukraine's territory, Ukraine's air force said on Thursday.

The drones were destroyed over the Odesa region in Ukraine's south, the air force said.

A Ukrainian air attack on Russia's Belgorod region injured eight people and damaged scores of residential buildings and cars, the governor of the region bordering with Ukraine said on Thursday.

Among the wounded is an 11-year-old girl who was taken to a hospital, said Vyacheslav Gladkov.

Russia's air defence systems destroyed 15 rockets launched from the RM-70 Vampir system, and one drone over the region, Russia's defence ministry said.

Three drones were also downed over Russia's Kursk region and two over the Bryansk region, the ministry added.

Vladimir Putin on Thursday sought to defend his invasion, accusing the West of risking a global conflict and said no one would be allowed to threaten the nuclear power as Russia marked the May 9 Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two.

As Russian troops are now advancing against Ukraine's Western-backed forces, Putin accused "arrogant" Western elites of forgetting the decisive role played by the Soviet Union in defeating Nazi Germany.

The Russian president sent his army into Ukraine in February 2022 expecting to seize Kyiv in a lightning advance.

But his troops were forced to retreat to the eastern Donbas region, where they are seizing a limited amount of land while suffering heavy losses, according to British defence sources.