Dramatic footage showing the moment a Russian oil refinery was struck by drones from Ukraine has surfaced online, supporting earlier reports that the plant had been bombed.
The fire at Russia’s Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery began during the morning of July 22, 2022, according to Russian state news agency TASS.
Eyewitnesses told TASS they noticed two large drones circling the area before one of them fell into the refinery’s heat exchanger, exploding and starting a fire. The other drone then flew away.
The fire engulfed a 50 square meter area, before finally being extinguished by firefighters several hours later, TASS claimed.
The refinery is in Novoshakhtinsk, Rostov oblast, approximately 10 kilometers (six miles) from the official Ukrainian border. A large part of the neighboring Ukrainian region of Luhansk has been occupied by the self-declared Lugansk People’s Republic since 2014.
According to Liveuamap.com, the frontline of the Russian-Ukrainian war is currently situated approximately 140 kilometers (87 miles) northeast of Novoshakhtinsk.
Shortly after the attack, numerous videos reporting to show the explosion and the fire began to surface online. One video, which had initially been shared by multiple Russian Telegram channels, zooms in on the drone before it plummets into the refinery and the plant catches fire.
Money collected by Kalush Orchestra from selling their Eurovision 2022 prize were spent on @ukrspecsystems PD-2 drones for Ukrainian army. Now looks like we can see them in action, hitting Russian oil refinery in Rostov region as a loitering munition. https://t.co/BfmnJYe84K pic.twitter.com/LC0lDWJpzf
— Mark Krutov (@kromark) June 22, 2022
The following conversation between the people filming the video can also be heard in the background.
“This is unmanned [aerial vehicle – AeroTime],”
“Isn’t it a Ukrainian one?”
“Of course not!”
Thanks to the relatively high-quality footage, the drone can be identified as a PD-2 from its distinct tail shape.
The drone, manufactured by Ukrainian company UkrSpecSystems, weighs 55 kilograms and can be outfitted with an optional vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) module, which is not present in the video.
According to the manufacturer, the drone is highly modular and can be equipped with a wide variety of payloads, including surveillance equipment and bombs. Some versions of PD-2s have the capability to also share data, allowing one drone to act as a signal repeater for several others.
As noted in the tweet, a unit of these drones, consisting of several aircraft and a control station, was bought by Kalush Orchestra, the Ukrainian band that won the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest. After selling the prize and some memorabilia from the contest, they announced that they would spend the money on PD-2s.
Ukrainian officials haven’t claimed responsibility for the drone strike.
The attack on the refinery follows series of attacks on Russian strategic targets near the border with Ukraine since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of its neighbor in February 2022.