Fire at the Ryazan refinery in western Russia after a Ukrainian drone strike, March 13, 2024

Wednesday’s Coverage: Raids Inside Russia; Refineries on Fire

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Supporting Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Germany’s Bundestag has rejected a call by the opposition for the supply of Taurus long-range cruise missiles to Ukraine.

The vote was 495 to 190 with five abstentions.

Scholz has said that the missiles, with a range of up to 500 kilometres (310 miles), cannot be supplied because they would not bcontrolled by the German military and could be used against targets deep inside Russia.


The death toll from Wednesday’s Russian strikes on Sumy in northern Ukraine has risen to three with the recovery of a man’s body from rubble.


Cross-border raids by pro-Ukraine Russian militias are continuing in Russia’s Belgorod and Kursk regions.

The Freedom of Russia Legion, the Siberian Battalion, and the Russian Volunteer Corps launched the raids on Tuesday, claiming that they overran Russian outposts and captured the town of Tetkino in Kursk.

Russia’s National Guard said on Thursday that “Rosgvardia units are involved in repulsing an attack by enemy diversion groups” near Tetkino.

Kursk Governor Roman Starovoit confirmed the fighting, saying the Russian military and border guards “did not and will not allow… saboteurs” to enter Russia’s territory.

Russian military observers reported that a “sabotage and reconnaissance group” entered Belgorod, fighting near ​​the village of Spodaryushino.

Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said one person was killed and three injured by shelling.

The fatality was a female resident who died at the site where her car was struck.

The Freedom of Russia Legion issued a message earlier on Thursday to residents of the border areas, “Immediately leave #Kursk and #Belgorod regions, all major population centers. We will open fire on military targets on this territory within an hour and a half after this appeal”.


The chairs of the Foreign Affairs Committee of legislatures in 23 countries — including European states, Canada, the US, and Israel — have signed a statement rejecting the legitimacy of Russia’s managed Presidential elections in occupied Ukrainian territory.


The EU has agreed to create a €5 billion fund for military aid to Ukraine, using the mechanism of the European Peace Facility.

The initiative enables member states to be partially reimbursed for purchases of defense equipment.

The Ukraine Defense Ministry responded:


Vladimir Putin has appealed to Russians to vote in the managed Presidential election from March 15 to 17.

Putin is guaranteed to “win” another six-year term. Only token candidates who are loyal to the Kremlin have been permitted to stand. Those criticizing policies, including the invasion of Ukraine, have been blocked from standing.

However, the Kremlin is anxious to show legitimacy, both for Putin’s ongoing rule and for the invasion.

“You realize what a difficult period our country is going through, what complex challenges we are facing on almost all fronts,” Putin said in the televised address. “And to continue to respond to them with dignity and successfully overcome difficulties, we need to continue to be united and self-confident.”

He added an implicit warning to those who do not show up at the ballot box, “Let me be clear, participation in the elections today is a demonstration of patriotic sentiments.”


Claims are circulating on Telegram that Sochi Airport in southern Russia is on fire.

Sochi is Russia’s largest resort city and hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics. Vladimir Putin has a summer home in the area.


Ukraine air defenses shot down 22 of 36 Iran-type attack drones launched by Russia overnight.

Drones and S-300 missiles caused damage in Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv, in the northeast of the country, including to residences, an administrative building, and “television infrastructure”. Other parts of the region, including Izium, Kupyansk, and Velykyi Burluk were attacked.

Drones struck civilian infrastructure in the Sumy region in the north, including Sumy city. Shostka and Trostyanets were reportedly attacked by missiles.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: For the second consecutive day, Ukrainian drone attacks set Russia’s leading oil refineries ablaze on Wednesday.

In 48 hours, the damage to three facilities has affected 12% of Russia’s refining capacity.

Wednesday’s fire at the Ryazan oil refinery in western Russia shut down two primary oil refining units. Russian State news agency RIA said four Ukrainian drones caused a blaze of 175 square meters, extinguished several hours later. Ryazan Governor Pavel Malkov said there were injuries, but no numbers were given.

The refinery, owned by the State company Rosneft, is Russia’s seventh-largest. Its output is about 12.7 million tons of oil a year, 4.6% of the Russian total; 6.4% of gasoline; 4.1% of diesel; 7.7% of fuel oil; and 8.0% of aviation fuel.

A Ukrainian drone targeted the Kirishi refinery, Russia’s second-largest with 6.4% of refined oil, in the Leningrad region in northwest Russia. Governor Alexander Drozdenko said it was destroyed by air defenses.

The Novoshakhtinsk export oil refinery in the Rostov region in southwest Russia suspended operations after an attack.

On Tuesday, Ukraine’s strikes cut Russia’s oil production by 3% when they crippled the NORSI refinery in Nizhny Novgorod, about 1,000 km (621 miles) from the Ukraine border.

The Lukoil refinery produces 6% of Russia’s refined crude. Output was halved when the main crude distillation unit was damaged.

An oil depot in the Oryol region in western Russia was also set ablaze.

Ukraine has been attacking positions far beyond the frontline in Russian-occupied territory and inside Russia since summer 2022. The drone, missile, and rocket strikes have knocked out part of Russia’s navy, breaking its grip on the western Black Sea. Naval and air bases, warplanes, and supply and logistic positions have been damaged or destroyed.

See also Ukraine War, Day 742: Kyiv Sinks Another Russian Warship

The assaults on refineries have escalated this year, with five struck in just over a week last month.