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Missile hits apartment buildings in Ukraine’s Kryvyi Rih, three dead, 38 hurt, as Ukraine knocks out Russian refinery in major attack


A Russian missile slammed into two apartment buildings in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih on Tuesday, killing three people and injuring at least 38, with rescue teams sifting through rubble in a night-time search for survivors.

Ten children were among the injured.

A view shows a residential building heavily damaged in a Russian missile attack in Kryvyi Rih, Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine, on 12th March, 2024. PICTURE: Dnipropetrovsk Regional Military Civil Administration via Telegram/Handout via Reuters

Serhiy Lysak, governor of Dnipropetrovsk region, put the provisional injury toll at 28 adults and 10 children and later said rescue operations had been completed

“Two buildings were hit, one five storeys, one nine storeys,” Lysak wrote on Telegram. “The number of injured is constantly rising as is the number of children injured.”

Oleksandr Vilkul, head of the Kryvyi Rih’s military administration, said at least three hits from the missiles were recorded in the city.

He said at least five of the adults and one child being treated in hospital were in critical condition. Nine people had been rescued in searches conducted from apartment to apartment and all fires at the scene had been brought under control.

Video footage showed a blaze engulfing the top of one apartment block and rescue teams ferrying the injured out of shattered building entrances.

With balconies all but destroyed and windows blown out, cranes reached to upper floors of buildings alongside floodlights.

“The emergency services and residents who care are rescuing residents blocked in their apartments and are continuing to search for anyone who might be under the rubble,” Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko wrote.

Kryvyi Rih has been a frequent target of Russian attacks.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who was born and raised in the city, praised rescue teams on Telegram and vowed Russia would be brought to account.

“Every day, our cities and villages suffer similar strikes. Every day, Ukraine loses people to Russian evil,” he wrote. “There can be no pause, not for a day, a week, let alone a month, in support for simply defending lives, for saving people from terror.”

A fire breaks out following a Ukrainian drone strike at an oil depot in Oryol, Orlovskaya Oblast, Russia in this screengrab obtained from a social media video released on 12th March, 2024. PICTURE: Video obtained by Reuters/via Reuters

Meanwhile,Ukraine pounded targets in Russia on Tuesday with dozens of drones and rockets in an attack that inflicted serious damage on a major oil refinery and sought to pierce the land borders of the world’s biggest nuclear power with armed proxies.

Russia and Ukraine have both used drones to strike critical infrastructure, military installations and troop concentrations in their more than two-year war, with Kyiv hitting Russian refineries and energy facilities in recent months.

Russia said Ukrainian proxies had sought to cross the Russian border in at least seven attacks that Russian forces had repelled. The Russian-speaking Ukrainian proxies said they had breached the border, a claim denied by Russia.

In one of the biggest Ukrainian drone attacks on Russia to date, Moscow said it downed 25 Ukrainian drones over regions including Moscow, Leningrad, Belgorod, Kursk, Bryansk, Tula and Oryol. Waves of drone attacks continued through the day, the defence ministry said.

Russian officials reported attacks on energy facilities, including a fire at Lukoil’s NORSI refinery and a drone destroyed on the outskirts of the town of Kirishi, home to Russia’s second largest oil refinery.

Gleb Nikitin, Governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region, posted a picture of a fire truck beside the NORSI refinery and said emergency services were working to put out a blaze there.

“A fuel and energy complex facility was attacked by unmanned aerial vehicles,” Nikitin said on Telegram.

Industry sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity that the main crude distillation unit (AVT-6) at NORSI was damaged in the attack, which means that at least half of the refinery’s production is halted. Lukoil declined to comment.

NORSI refines about 15.8 million tonnes of Russian crude a year, or 5.8 per cent of total refined crude, according to industry sources.
It also refines about 4.9 million tonnes of gasoline, 11 per cent of Russia’s total, 6.4 per cent of diesel fuel, 5.6 per cent of fuel oil and 7.4 per cent of the country’s aviation fuel, according to industry sources.

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Hitting Russian energy
Striking Russian oil facilities is a problem for President Vladimir Putin as he faces off against the West over Ukraine, with domestic gasoline prices sensitive ahead of a March 15-17 presidential election.

Russia imposed a six-month ban on gasoline exports on 1st March.

Along with Iran, Saudi Arabia and the US, Russia has vast energy reserves but has, since oil was discovered in the wilds of Western Siberia in the 1960s, often relied on Western technology to exploit and refine its crude.

The Kremlin said the Russian military was doing everything necessary and that what it calls its military operation in Ukraine would continue.
Russia says it has destroyed more than 15,000 Ukrainian-launched drones since the start of the war.

A view shows what Russian Defence Ministry says is a destroyed tank of Ukraine-based armed groups after an attempted incursion into Russian territory at a border crossing between Russia and Ukraine near the village of Nekhoteevka in the Belgorod Region, Russia, in this still image taken from video released on 12th March, 2024. PICTURE: Russian Defence Ministry/Handout via Reuters

Border attack
Russia said its forces prevented incursions from Ukraine in the western Belgorod and Kursk regions and inflicted heavy losses on the attackers, after Ukraine-based armed groups said they had launched cross-border raids.

“Ukrainian terrorist formations, supported by tanks and armoured combat vehicles, attempted to invade the territory of the Russian Federation simultaneously,” the Russian defence ministry said.

At least two Ukraine-based armed groups purporting to be made up of Russians opposed to the Kremlin said they had launched an incursion across Russia’s western border on Tuesday.

Russia denied that the groups, which Moscow casts as puppets of the Ukrainian military and US Central Intelligence Agency, had penetrated its territory, but said the border had come under attack in several places.

The TASS news agency cited the Federal Security Service (FSB) as saying Russian forces had killed 100 people and destroyed multiple armoured vehicles when fighting off attempted incursions.

Russia’s defence ministry said Ukraine had fired eight RM-70 rockets and one Tochka-U missile at the Belgorod region.


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