Day 769: Ukrainian drone strikes Russian oil refinery 1,200 kilometers from border

A Ukrainian drone strikes a Russian oil refinery 1,200 kilometers from the border. Ukraine’s private companies are ready to build a broad-gauge rail line to transport grain to ports in Poland, Lithuania. Russia plans several more missile strikes on Ukraine this spring, according to Ukraine’s defense intelligence.

Ukrainian drone strikes Russian oil refinery 1,200 kilometers from border

On Tuesday, Ukrainian drones targeted one of Russia’s largest oil refineries and a factory that produces Shahed-type drones in the Tatarstan region. 

A Ukrainian long-range drone hit a primary refining unit at an oil refinery in Nizhnekamsk. A fire erupted at the facility, sources in Ukraine’s military intelligence and security service told Ukrainska Pravda. It is one of Russia’s five largest oil refineries. A drone-making factory was also struck in Yelabuga.

“We do not stop to hit military infrastructure of the aggressor to ensure that Russia has fewer and fewer opportunities to finance its genocidal war against Ukraine. We will continue to make efforts to minimize the flow of petrodollars to Russia’s military budget. Strikes on Russian oil refineries and other production facilities will continue and intensify,” unnamed security officials quoted by Ukrainska Pravda said.

Ukraine’s defense intelligence was behind the attack on the drone assembly plant in Yelabuga, and the strike on the oil refinery in Nizhnekamsk was a joint operation of Ukraine’s defense intelligence and security service, the sources said.

Ukraine’s private companies ready to build broad-gauge rail line to transport grain to ports in Poland, Lithuania

The construction of a broad-gauge rail line from Ukraine’s border to the port of Gdańsk, in Poland, and Klaipėda, in Lithuania will simplify the transportation of Ukrainian grain and create an opportunity for Poland to capitalize on grain transit, Ukraine’s Minister of Agricultural Policy and Food, Mykola Solskyi told Polish media. 

If a broad-gauge rail line is built from the Ukrainian border to Gdańsk, Ukrainian companies will commit certain amounts of exports to transport along the route in the next 10 years, Solskyi added. 

“Furthermore, Poland will be able to construct plants to process Ukrainian grain on its coastline and export finished products, elevating the profits,” Solskyi said.

Ukraine has several times more railroad grain cars than the rest of Europe. It is more practical to build a 1,520-mm broad-gauge rail line between the Ukrainian border and the Polish coastline than to invest in rail cars for a European-type [1,435-mm] narrow-gauge rail, he added. 

Solskyi also said that Ukrainian investors are ready to finance the infrastructural project, but did not give further details.

“The Polish parliament needs to pass [a bill establishing] a simplified investment procedure. Poland has simplified procedures for construction of oil and gas terminals. I know that the proposal has been analyzed, but it is better to refer the questions about the project to Polish sources,” Solskyi said.

Russia plans few more missile strikes on Ukraine this spring, Ukraine’s defense intelligence says

Russia plans to conduct several more massive missile strikes on Ukraine’s energy system this spring, a representative of the Main Intelligence Department of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, Major General Vadym Skibitskyi told RBC Ukraine.

Russia needs to pause to replenish its dwindling stocks of missiles, he said.

“According to our estimate, Russia now has around 950 high-precision missiles of the operational-strategic and strategic levels, with a range of more than 350 kilometers. They tend to keep at least 900 missiles in their stockpiles,” Skibitskyi said. 

Russia launches major strikes when it has more than 900 missiles. When its stockpiles fall to that level, it pauses.

Russia is nearing the limit, but plans to produce around 40 more Kh-101 missiles in April. 

“We forecast that Russia will be able to carry out several more (two-three) major missile strikes. It will then need to pause to replenish the stocks of missiles and Shahed drones,” Skibitskyi said. Smaller-scale local attacks could continue, he added.

Head of the Main Intelligence Department of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, Major General Kyrylo Budanov earlier said that Russia had been accumulating stockpiles of Kalibr sea-launched cruise missiles for a long time and could use them in next strikes on Ukraine.