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17 Jun, 2023 13:15

Ukraine drone attack on Russian oil pipeline to EU failed, official says

Russian air defenses shot down three UAVs near a pumping station, says governor of Bryansk Region, which borders Ukraine
Ukraine drone attack on Russian oil pipeline to EU failed, official says

Ukrainian drones have attempted to strike the Druzhba pipeline that delivers Russian oil to several European countries, Bryansk Region governor Alexander Bogomaz has said. He added that the attack was thwarted by Russian air defenses.

On his Telegram channel on Saturday, Bogomaz wrote: “Last night, air defense units of the Russian armed forces… repelled the Ukrainian military’s attack on the oil-pumping station ‘Druzhba’.” According to the official, a total of three UAVs were brought down.

Last month, the Washington Post claimed, citing leaked Pentagon documents, that back in February Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky had suggested to Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Sviridenko that Kiev “should just blow up the [Druzhba] pipeline,” which pumps oil to Hungary and other states.

According to the report, Zelensky described the destruction of “Hungarian [Prime Minister] Viktor Orban’s industry” as one of his goals.

While Zelensky dismissed the allegations as “fantasies,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto several days later accused Kiev of “virtually attacking Hungary’s sovereignty” by supposedly plotting to undermine the security of Budapest’s energy supply.

Around that same time, a loading station of the Druzhba oil pipeline in Bryansk Region was shelled by Ukrainian forces, with three fuel storage tanks, all of them empty, damaged as a result.

In March, Transneft, the pipeline operator, reported that several drones had dropped explosives in the vicinity of an oil-pumping station. Multiple incidents of shelling had taken place before that as well.

The Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline is one of the largest oil-transport networks in the world, spanning some 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles) and transporting oil from Russia to Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany.

Bryansk Region, which is adjacent to Ukraine, has repeatedly been targeted by cross-border strikes.

In March, a Ukraine-based neo-Nazi unit conducted a sortie into the region.

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