Kyiv argues the attacks are fair retaliation for strikes on Ukrainian territory
Kyiv argues the attacks are fair retaliation for strikes on Ukrainian territory AFP

Ukraine said it was behind a drone strike that sparked a huge inferno at an oil depot in western Russia on Friday, the latest in a series of escalating cross-border attacks.

The strike is the second on a Russian oil depot in as many days, part of what Kyiv has called "fair" retaliation for Moscow's strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure.

Friday's strike targeted a Rosneft oil storage facility about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Ukrainian border, in the Russian town of Klintsy, officials said.

It was carried out by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, a Ukrainian security source confirmed to AFP, without elaborating.

Videos showed a huge fireball tearing through the oil depot's storage tanks, while a cloud of black smoke billowed over the town of some 60,000 inhabitants.

"Four oil tanks are burning in Klintsy," regional governor Alexander Bogomaz said.

"For safety reasons 32 residents of the private sector were temporarily evacuated to relatives. A temporary accommodation center has been prepared," he added.

There were no casualties, but 13 fire trucks were deployed to battle the blaze, Bogomaz announced earlier.

The fire started after a drone dropped "munitions" on the depot, he said, but claimed the drone had been intercepted.

Two other drones targeting the region were shot down by air defenses, he said.

A train especially equipped to deal with large fires was scrambled to the town to help battle the blaze, a local train operator said.

"The fire will not affect rail traffic in Klintsy," it stressed.

Kyiv has targeted Russian territory including its oil and gas infrastructure throughout the almost two-year war, but these strikes have intensified in the past two months.

On Thursday, Ukraine claimed responsibility for a rare drone attack in the northern Leningrad region, nearly 1,000 kilometers (around 620 miles) from the border.