Day 756: Ukraine’s drone strikes on Russian oil refineries mark new phase in war

A Russian missile strike on Kharkiv kills five, injures eight others, starts a major fire. Two border crossing points with Ukraine are fully blocked as Polish farmers stage nationwide protests. Ukraine’s drone strikes on Russian oil refineries mark new phase in war, Bloomberg says.

Russian missile strike on Kharkiv kills five, injures eight others, starts major fire

A Russian missile hit an industrial area in Kharkiv in the afternoon on Wednesday, killing five people and injuring eight others. The missile struck an eight-story building that houses industrial facilities and offices, causing a major fire. 

The area of the fire expanded to 10,000 square meters from an initial 2,000 square meters, according to the emergency services. One of the reasons for the severe fire was that there was a lot of flammable material present. A printing house, furniture workshop, and paint products factory are located in the building.

Russia used a Kh-35 anti-ship missile in its attack on Kharkiv, head of the regional police, Volodymyr Tymoshko said on Facebook. “The building houses production facilities and offices. This is an act of terrorism because it was conducted at a time when the vast majority of the people are at work,” Tymoshko was quoted as saying on a police account on Telegram.

Two border crossings with Ukraine fully blocked as Polish farmers stage nationwide protests

Polish farmers are holding nationwide protests on Wednesday. They have been protesting in recent months to demand the withdrawal of the Green Deal and re-imposition of customs duties on agricultural imports from Ukraine. Polish farmers are blocking five border crossing points with Ukraine, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Border Guard Service, Andriy Demchenko told Ukrinform news agency on Wednesday.  

Protesters allow only a few trucks to pass in both directions every hour. Traffic at some crossings was completely halted, he explained.

“Polish protesters let no Poland-bound trucks pass through the Yahodyn [Yahodyn-Dorohusk] and Rava-Ruska [Rava-Ruska-Hrebenne] crossings. We have recorded there zero trucks going out of Ukraine. They also allow just a few trucks every day to cross into Poland at the Shehyni [Shehyni-Medyka] border crossing. In the past day, five trucks [were able to get through],” Demchenko said.

He added that just a small number of cars were allowed to cross into Ukraine at the Yahodyn-Dorohusk and Shehyni-Medyka crossings. In the past day, 70 and 40 cars respectively were let through.  

As of Wednesday morning, 850 trucks were waiting to enter Ukraine at five crossings in Poland, most of which near the Yahodyn-Dorohusk border crossing. Private vehicle and bus traffic has in most cases remained unaffected.

Polish police said they knew of more than 580 protests planned for Wednesday, with an estimated participation of 70,000 people. The protests are expected to cause traffic jams. A map shows more than 500 locations of planned protests.

Ukraine’s drone strikes on Russian oil refineries mark new phase in war, Bloomberg says

Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s invasion has entered a new phase, pitting homegrown drone technology against a 2,000 kilometer (1,200 mile) swathe of largely Soviet-era oil facilities, according to Bloomberg. 

At least nine major refineries have been successfully attacked this year, currently taking offline 11% of the country’s total capacity by some estimates.

As the conflict at the front lines has shifted in Moscow’s favor, the drone campaign is becoming a key plank of Ukraine’s defense — both in its symbolism and its strategic aims.

It gives Kyiv the ability to reach deep into Russian territory and strike an industry that’s crucial to the Kremlin’s war effort, providing both supplies of fuel to its armed forces and a flow of petrodollars into its coffers.

“Russia is a gas station with an army, and we intend on destroying that gas station,” Francisco Serra-Martins, co-founder and chief executive officer of drone manufacturer Terminal Autonomy, said in an interview. “We are going to focus on where it hits the hardest, and that’s financial resources.”

Even as the drone campaign becomes a success story for Ukraine’s military — badly needed after a series of Russian gains on the battlefield — it is a potential wild card for world markets and Kyiv’s Western allies.

International oil prices have risen steadily in recent days amid growing fears that the attacks, which have largely inflicted attritional damage so far, could one day take out a major export facility.

Weighing In: Western Military Involvement in Ukraine. Ukraine in Flames #587

French President Emmanuel Macron made a new series of harsh statements against Russia and criticized Ukraine’s overly cautious allies. His interview with French TV channels was broken down into multiple straightforward quotes. Some praise Macron for his determination, others criticize him for deliberately fueling the war. He clearly stated that peace in Ukraine is impossible without the return of all occupied territories, including Crimea. To achieve this goal, Macron even mentioned sending foreign troops to Ukraine. Watch Ukraine in flames #587 to find out how the views of the French president changed and what such changes mean for Ukraine. 


  • Mykola Bielieskov, Senior Analyst at Come Back Alive Foundation, Research Fellow at National Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Yuriy Lukanov, Journalist, Writer