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Ukraine is directing drones at an oil refinery and a drone factory inside Russia, which is the farthest strike it has made inside Russian territory so far

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian drones carried out an attack on one of Russia’s largest oil refineries and a drone factory in the Russian province of Tatarstan, officials revealed Tuesday, in what seemed to be Kyiv’s most significant strike inside Russian

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian drones carried out an attack on one of Russia’s largest oil refineries and a drone factory in the Russian region of Tatarstan, officials said Tuesday. This seems to be the deepest strike by Kyiv inside Russian territory since the war started over two years ago.

The attack on facilities near the cities of Yelabuga and Nizhnekamsk, which are about 745 miles east of Ukraine, caused injuries to 12 people, according to Russian regional authorities.

In recent months, Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian refineries and oil terminals have become a top priority as part of escalated assaults on Russian territory.

For months, Ukrainian drone developers have been increasing the weapons' range as Kyiv tries to make up for its disadvantage in weapons and troops on the battlefield. The unmanned aerial vehicles are also a cost-effective option while Ukraine waits for additional U.S. military aid.

At the moment, neither side has the ability to significantly impact the 620-mile front line.

Ukrainian security and intelligence officials stated that they targeted a “drone-production site” in Yelabuga, Tatarstan, using long-range drones produced in Ukraine. Tatarstan is known for its high level of industrialization, and a factory near Yelabuga has reportedly built Iranian-designed Shahed exploding drones.

The Ukrainian officials also mentioned that intelligence services were involved in an overnight attack on the Nizhnekamsk oil refinery.

The officials spoke to The Associated Press anonymously because they were not authorized to comment publicly. It was a rare claim of responsibility, as Kyiv officials typically do not comment on attacks on Russian soil, although they sometimes make indirect references to them.

The Associated Press was not able to independently verify the claims.

Russia has frequently used Shahed drones to launch aerial attacks on Ukraine, including major barrages deploying up to 90 of them at a time in an attempt to overwhelm air defenses.

Tatarstan officials stated that the attack did not disrupt industrial production, while Nizhnekamsk’s mayor said the attempt to strike the refinery was stopped by air defenses.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Kyiv was trying to divert attention from its military setbacks by attempting to strike Russian territory “to persuade its Western sponsors that it remains capable to confront the Russian military.”

Speaking during a meeting with the top military officials, Shoigu claimed that Russian troops have gained more than 155 square miles since the start of the year.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian military was taking steps to strengthen defenses against such attacks.

“The military is working to minimize this threat and eventually remove it altogether,” he said in a conference call with reporters.

Ukraine has previously launched drone attacks in and around St. Petersburg, which is about 620 miles north of the border. However, the facilities in Tatarstan, a region on the Volga River, seem to be the most remote target Ukraine has attempted to hit.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said last year that his country had developed a weapon that hit a target 400 miles away, seemingly referring to a drone attack on Russian soil.

Last year, Ukraine’s minister for digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, stated that the government was determined to create a cutting-edge ” army of drones ” and that its contribution to the war effort will be visible by the end of this year. Fedorov mentioned that Ukraine trained over 10,000 new drone pilots in the previous year.

Ukraine has also produced lethal sea drones that have targeted Russian navy ships in the Black Sea. These successful strikes have humiliated the Kremlin, and on Tuesday Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a decree to appoint Adm. Alexander Moiseyev as the new navy chief, as stated by the Russian Defense Ministry.

Putin also selected Vice Adm. Sergei Pinchuk as the new leader of the navy’s Black Sea Fleet following the removal of his predecessor, Adm. Viktor Sokolov.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s air force reported Tuesday that it intercepted nine out of 10 Shahed drones launched overnight by Russia in the most recent attack on the country’s power grid.

These attacks also result in civilian casualties. Volker Türk, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, declared Tuesday that the war has resulted in the deaths of over 10,500 Ukrainian civilians and injuries to more than 20,000.

“The conflict is increasingly becoming entrenched and prolonged, marked by repeated waves of attacks, as observed throughout the country last week,” he stated in a speech.

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