Espreso. Global

Explosions witnessed by Russians: Blasts in Mariupol, fire at Sukhoi aircraft manufacturer's plant, and drones in Russian regions

25 February, 2024 Sunday

This week, explosions were heard twice in temporarily occupied Mariupol, and a fire broke out at the Sukhoi aircraft manufacturer's Moscow plant, while drones attacked several Russian regions.

Explosions in Russian-occupied Mariupol

  • On the morning of Monday, February 19, a series of explosions were heard in the temporarily occupied Mariupol, Donetsk region. "Mariupol. Not just loud, but fire!  A burning aircraft is reported to have crashed near the village of Rybatske. In addition, the city continues to hear explosions," wrote Petro Andriushchenko, an advisor to the mayor of Mariupol, at about 09:20. Later he added that the air target was probably shot down on its way back from Donetsk in the direction of Primorsko-Akhtarsk in the Russian Federation. The Mariupol resistance also reported the downing of a Russian aircraft near the village of Rybatske: "Residents of the city write that they hear explosions in different areas. The invaders report the work of air defense," the statement read.

  • On Wednesday, February 21, sounds of explosions were reported in Mariupol again. Russian engineers were reportedly blown up while repairing the railroad. According to Andriushchenko, the occupation engineers blew up in the Havana area in Prymorsky district. "They wanted to repair the railroad again. It has been repaired," added the official.

  • Meanwhile, agents of the Atesh guerrilla movement managed to damage the equipment at the station in Yevpatoriya, so its capability on the battlefield is now questionable. "While the equipment was in the city, our agents managed to damage it, and there is a very high probability that it will not go into the field, and if it does, it will not return," Atesh stated.

Drones in the Belgorod, Bryansk, Kaluga, Kursk, Tula and Lipetsk regions, and in the Black Sea

  • The Russian Ministry of Defense said that at night and in the morning of Tuesday, February 20, air defense forces destroyed at least 5 drones over the territories of Bryansk and Kaluga regions. It is noted that at night, Russian air defense systems shot down three unmanned aerial vehicles over the Bryansk region. Later, at about 08:00 Moscow time, the Russians announced the downing of one UAV over the territory of the same region and another over the Kaluga region.

  • On Saturday, February 24, the Russian Defense Ministry again accused Ukraine of an alleged drone attack on three regions. Russian air defense forces were reportedly operating there. "Last night, from 00:20 to 02:00, the Kyiv regime's regular attempts to carry out terrorist attacks using aircraft-type UAVs against targets in the Russian Federation were stopped," the statement said. It was noted that Russian air defense shot down one drone in the Kursk region, two over the Lipetsk region, and another drone over the territory of the Tula region.

  • On the night of Sunday, February 25, Russia reported the attack of 6 more allegedly Ukrainian drones, which were shot down over the Belgorod region and the Black Sea. According to the report, two unmanned aerial vehicles were intercepted and destroyed by regular air defense forces over the territory of the Belgorod region. In addition, 4 more UAVs were allegedly shot down over the Black Sea.

Fire at the Lipetsk Metallurgical Plant and the Sukhoi Aircraft Plant

  • On the night of February 24, a fire broke out at a steel plant in Lipetsk. Drones of the Security Service and the Defense Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate attacked the Novolipetsk Metallurgical Plant, which works for the Russian army. According to Baza, an open coal warehouse was on fire. The strike hit the coke shop, where refrigeration units are located. According to experts, the explosion could disrupt the plant's operations for at least a month. The head of the Lipetsk region, Igor Artamonov, said that "there was a fire in one of the plant's shops. The fire has been extinguished and there were no injuries. There is no threat of hazardous substances being released." He also noted that, according to unconfirmed information from the security services, the fire was caused by a plane crash.

  • On the morning of February 24, a fire broke out in Moscow on the territory of the Sukhoi aircraft manufacturer's plant. The fire was reported to have occurred in one of the hangars, and the video was first published by the Russian media. As the Russian Emergencies Ministry later noted, garbage and pressed paper were burning in the metal hangar. No one was injured.

Expert opinion

According to Bloomberg experts, Russian refineries that have been hit by drones have reduced oil refining, and some have not resumed operations yet. The probable reason for this is attacks by Ukrainian drones.

The Ryazan refinery (Rosneft), Volgograd refinery (Lukoil), as well as the Ilsky and Afipsky refineries have reduced their refining volumes. All of them have been attacked by Ukrainian drones in recent weeks.

Rosneft's Tuapse refinery, which suffered a fire on January 25 (allegedly caused by a drone strike), has not yet resumed operations, and Novatek's condensate processing plant in Ust-Luga has only partially resumed operations after a month of downtime, Bloomberg reports. 

The head of Ukraine's Defense Intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, thanked the residents of the temporarily occupied Crimea for their help and advised civilians not to cross the Crimean Bridge, hinting at "new surprises" for the occupiers in 2024.

The head of the HUR emphasized that the tasks have already been accomplished: Russia has lost a quarter of its ships and was forced to withdraw its fleet to the Caucasus coast and redeploy its aviation, as Crimea's airfields and military facilities are constantly under fire from Ukrainian defenders.

"We promised that in 2023 Ukrainian special forces would be in Crimea, and we have fulfilled this promise. New surprises await the enemies, and I would not recommend civilians to use the so-called Crimean bridge," the head of the Ukrainian intelligence concluded.

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