Ukraine has reportedly used Chinese-made commercial drones to attack one of Russia’s largest oil refineries on June 22.
Two drones struck the Novoshakhtinsk refinery in the Rostov region, which is located just five kilometers away from the border from Ukraine, at around 9:25 a.m. Moscow time. The refinery is reported to be one of the largest in Russia’s southern region with a capacity of up to 7.5 million tons per year.
“As a result of terrorist actions from the western border of the Rostov region, two unmanned aerial vehicles attacked the technical facilities [of the plant],” the Novoshakhtinsk refinery said in a statement. “[as a result] an explosion occurred, starting a fire”.
The large fire caused by the drone attack was completely extinguished by firefighters within an hour and a half only. No casualties were reported.
Footage published to social media showed what appears to be a Chinese-made Skyeye 4450mm drone impacting the Novoshakhtinsk refinery.
The Skyeye 4450mm, which can be bought as a kit from Ali Express for $6,500, is made of fiberglass and has a wingspan of 4,450 meters. The kit does not come with an engine. However, the recommended engine, DLE170, can be bought separately for $1,149 from the same website. The drone can carry a payload of 12-20 kilograms.
Ukrainian specialists have apparently turned the Skyeye 4450mm into a suicide drone, likely by installing a satellite-aided navigation system, a mission computer and a warhead.
How exactly these two improvised suicide drones were able to penetrate Russia’s air defense means remain unclear. The Russian military will likely reinforce its air defense network in Rostov as a result of the attack. Despite the very limited damage, the attack represents a very serious escalation by Kiev.
The attack will not likely go without a response. Russia has already warned Kiev that any attack on its territory will be met with strikes on “decision-making centers in Ukraine.
Source: South Front