Espreso. Global
OPINION

Russian refineries are a legitimate target for Ukrainian drone attacks

25 March, 2024 Monday
12:41

Morning news about Ukraine’s drone strikes on Russian oil refineries has become almost a daily occurrence. Their number is systematically increasing. What is the purpose and consequences of these strikes?

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The last few days have brought new strikes to the enemy. Drones have been targeting three Rosneft refineries in the Samara region. These are the Novokuibyshevsk, Kuibyshev and Syzran refineries. In total, these plants process about 25 million tons of oil per year, which is almost 10% of Russia's total oil refining. Then they attacked the Slavyansk oil refinery in Krasnodar Krai.

We can state that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) is systematically destroying Russian refineries, and the enemy is losing billions of dollars: 12 Russian refineries have been successfully attacked recently.

What are the consequences for the enemy? First, Russia was forced to completely ban gasoline exports because it is already experiencing a shortage of gasoline in the domestic market, where prices have risen to record levels. It should be noted that the refineries not only work for defense and provide fuel for Russian troops, but are also a key source of revenue for the gas station country.

Russia uses the money from oil and gas revenues to fight and kill Ukrainians, so the refinery is a legitimate target of the attack.

Secondly, it is no coincidence that the SBU increases the intensity of attacks on refineries just before the sowing season, as the demand for fuel and lubricants is highest during this period. A partially disrupted sowing season will reduce another important enemy export commodity - food. Russia supplies it abroad, while trying to destroy (including physically) competitors in this market from Ukraine.

In addition, it is obvious that the operation is being carefully planned: before launching drones, there is a thought-out stage of reconnaissance and information gathering.

The target at the refineries themselves is very precisely chosen - distillation columns. Hitting them stops the operation of the entire refinery and requires Western equipment and technologies that cannot be officially imported into Russia due to sanctions. We are talking about complex and massive equipment, the number of manufacturers of which is extremely limited, which will make it difficult to circumvent the sanctions. It will probably take months to restore the plants.

I see from Russian reports that Shoigu's subordinates are constantly talking about “the downing of all Ukrainian drones.” They say that "debris falls on factories and causes fires." However, the videos posted by the Russians themselves on the Internet show how precisely the drones are striking. Obviously, the enemy cannot protect their facilities - their air defense resources are also limited. The only way to cover the refinery is to withdraw air defense from the frontline, because the Kremlin will not be moving it from Moscow and St. Petersburg.

We can definitely say that Russia has already experienced a whole range of consequences from the SBU drone strikes at this stage of the operation. Budget losses, rising prices in the domestic market, problems with fuel before the sowing season, etc. However, it will be interesting to assess the consequences after a while, if the number of strikes remains or increases. How will a gas station operate if there are problems with the main product?

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About the author. Oleksiy Holobutskyi, political scientist

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.

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