Video shows huge fireball after Ukrainian drone strike hits Russian energy and weapons plants

A Ukrainian “plane-type UAV” struck a facility allegedly assembling drones on Tuesday, causing an enormous fireball on impact. “This morning, industrial enterprises in Yelabuga and Nizhnekamsk were attacked by drones,” said Rustam Minnikhanov, the leader of Russia’s autonomous Republic of Tatarstan, in a Telegram post. “There is no serious damage, the technological process of the enterprises was not disrupted,” Minnikhanov added. Video caught the moment when a drone flew into a plant near Yelabuga in the Tatarstan region around 600 miles from Ukraine’s borders in Russia, causing a massive explosion. Russian sources say the drone struck a workers dormitory near the plant, wounding at least seven people according to Radio Free Europe, with two or three drones striking the facility overall. No one has officially claimed responsibility for the attack, but Ukrainian outlets in Kyiv have claimed that the attack was organized by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR), The Guardian reported. “When we take Kyiv then the mayhem with drones will end. In the meantime, we will continue to repel these despicable terrorist [attacks],” said Andre Kartapolov, head of the defense committee in the Russian Duma. Yelabuga is part of the Alabuga economic zone in Russia, hosting over 20 industrial enterprises, including chemical and mechanical engineering, while Nizhnekamsk is home to a large oil refinery. Ukraine has aimed to hurt the economy and limit supplies to the military, prompting the U.S. to ask that Kyiv stop targeting the Russian energy infrastructure, The Financial Times reported. Both Ukraine’s state security service SBU and its intelligence directorate GUR have claimed responsibility, and the increasingly brazen strikes have “frustrated” the White House, one person told the FT, with concerns that Russia might retaliate against Western energy facilities. The Alabuga Special Economic Zone claimed that the drone had “equipment” from NATO countries, but provided no evidence. “We do not encourage or enable attacks inside of Russia,” an NSC spokesperson told Digital of recent attacks. The variable strikes are part of Ukraine’s evolving strategy against Russia after the invasion failed to produce the dividends expected last year. Ukraine tried to turn the tide using targeted drone strikes against infrastructure and even several alleged assassinations of Russian personnel, including an attack with a drone in May 2023. Instead, Ukraine found its greatest results in the navy, pushing back Russia’s Black Sea Fleet from the coast and forcing the boats eastward away from vital facilities.