A reported ten explosives-toting, long-range robot aircraft flew most of the length of the Black Sea from a launch site in south-west Ukraine to hit in a western industrial district of the Russian city Rostov shortly after midnight.

Independent news reports and local social media reported fierce anti-aircraft fire followed by multiple explosions and two major fires close to or possibly on the premises of the Novosakhtinsky Petroleum Plant (Rostov branch). Video geo-located to the region showed an orange fireball following a probable drone impact, and a mushroom cloud rising hundreds of meters into the sky following the blast.

Daytime images showed a massive gray smoke cloud covering the city’s southern horizon, and local chat groups reported firefighters racing to the scene. Some posters complained it hurt to breathe air anywhere in the city, which was covered with thick smog.


Official information platforms led by the Telegram channel MDK Rostov offered a different version of events, reporting that all ten Ukrainian drones had been shot down by highly effective military air defenses, and that the only damage caused by the strikes was a “grass fire” ignited by “falling debris.”

Firefighters had responded to the scene, the situation was under control, and Rostov residents should avoid touching fallen debris, Rostov governor Vasiliy Golubev said in a statement.

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One grass fire according to official accounts was ignited inadvertently when a Russian army Mi-28 helicopter landed in a farm field to avoid possible contact with the incoming Ukrainian drones. The military aircraft’s “hot engine” set turf underneath on fire accidentally, the usually pro-government Russian Baza information platform claimed. That mishap, according to the account, took place in a field 15 kilometers northwest of Rostov.

Fires burn outside the Russian city Rostov following a Ukrainian drone strike on Friday. Official Russian sources said it was grass fires, one sparked by an army helicopter whose crew let their aircraft’s engine come too close to dry brush on the ground after a landing.


A statement from Russia’s Defense Ministry did not mention the Mi-28, but claimed that air defense forces in southwest Russia had had a very successful night shooting down 10 Ukrainian drones over Rostov region, 14 Ukrainian drones attempting to hit Russia’s Krasnodar region, and 26 drones aimed at targets in the Russian-occupied portion of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region.

Commercial and private information platforms widely contradicted the official Russian narrative of an ineffective Ukrainian drone strike against Krasnodar, no damage to the refinery, and only grass fires.

The Novosti Rostova news channel published video of nighttime images of explosions in the vicinity of the refinery in the south of the city, and daytime dash cam images of a billowing, mushroom-shaped smoke cloud covering much of the city’s southern horizon.


The independent Russian news agency Astra in reports filed throughout Friday morning published video it said was recorded by residents watching Ukrainian drones fly through Russian air defenses to hit the refinery. Some commentators in Rostov social media on Friday complained of dense smog in the city and air that was difficult to breathe because of acrid, chemical fumes.

Ukrainian military information platforms said the strike hit the refinery and set portions of it on fire, but that the extent of damage wasn’t clear. Some geo-located the probable location of the explosions to the coordinates N47°11.700’, E39°37.435’. Kyiv Post researchers reviewing open-source information including Rostov street images concluded that was probably correct.

Some Ukrainian military media claimed the Russian Mi-28 helicopter crash-landed during the drone strike and exploding fuel tanks, rather than “a hot engine, as reported in official Russian statements, sparked the grass fire. The Kyiv Post could not resolve the claims.

Another Ukrainian attack struck the seaside resort town Primorsko-Akhtarsk, on the eastern shore of the Kerch Strait, in Russia’s Krasnodar Oblast. Local officials said all incoming Ukrainian drones were shot down; however, they also stated a Ukrainian kamikaze aircraft detonated in the upper stories of a three-story apartment building. Six persons were injured, and one six-year-old girl later died of injuries received in the attack.


The Russian official news agency TASS published images from the scene and interviews with residents stating drones flew in the vicinity for forty minutes and that they hear several explosions, the last of which hit their apartment building.

In some Primorsko-Akhtarsk local social media, a video recording was circulating purportedly showed one blast lighting up a power transformer station and starting a fire. There was no direct official confirmation, however, news reports later said electricity service had been knocked out in a large portion of the city.

Russian social media image purportedly of a grounded Mi-28 helicopter that sparked a grass fire to the north of Rostov following an emergency landing. According to the Ukrainian mil-blogger WarLive, the aircraft crash-landed and exploding fuel caused the blaze. According to official Russian statements, the landing was precautionary, the aircraft was undamaged, and the fire started because of the helicopter’s hot engine coming too close to dry brush.

The independent Russian news agency Astra in a mid-afternoon Friday report said that “at least two Ukrainian missiles” hit a military airfield near Primorsko-Akhtarsk. The air base also was targeted by drones, and two service personnel injured, Astra said, citing “military sources.”


The Astra report said the Russian Air Force’s 960th Guards Assault Aviation Regiment is based at the airfield. The 960th Guards Aviation Regiment is notorious in Ukraine for, among other missions, an air strike flown by a Su-25 pilot from the unit, that on March 16 dropped a half ton bomb on a theater in the city of Mariupol, in which dozens of civilians had taken shelter. At least 50 women and children are thought to have died from the explosion and the building’s collapse.

There were few reports confirming the Russian Defense Ministry claim of at least 26 Ukrainian drones launched at targets in the occupied Zaporizhzhia region. One source, the pro-Ukraine blogger Dosie’ Shpiona, reported six Ukrainian drones struck and damaged a Russian tactical headquarters in the occupied town Nova Kakhovka, and injured two Russian service personnel. The platform posted images of burning vehicles and buildings but there was no outside confirmation.


Ukraine in May kicked off a campaign targeting Russia’s energy production infrastructure, targeting oil refineries and critical power grid nodes. Kyiv for most of the attacks has launched domestically manufactured drones programmed to fly below Russian radars. The highest priority targets have been fuel storage reservoirs and cracking towers.

The most massive Ukrainian single raid of the campaign thus far took place on June 20-21, when a reported 115 drones hit targets mostly in Crimea and the Krasnodar Oblast. A few aircraft flew more than 700 kilometers deep into central Russia to hit a refinery in Tatarstan.

The Kremlin has said the Ukrainian drone attacks are ineffective and are potentially war crimes because Russian civilians are targeted. The news agency Bloomberg in early June estimated the Ukrainian drone attacks have disrupted the operations of about half of Russia’s oil-processing plants and triggered a domestic gasoline and diesel price spike of 20-30 percent. To stabilize fuel prices and prevent public panic Russia banned gasoline exports for six months, the report said.

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