St. Petersburg: “External factor” in gas terminal fire

A fire broke out Sunday night at a terminal on the premises of Russian natural gas producer Novatek. The fire was caused by two explosions, state agency RIA Novosti reported, citing local authorities. There were no injuries and employees were evacuated in the Baltic Sea port of Ust-Luka, the region's governor, Alexander Drostenko, reported the TASS news agency.

The trigger for the explosion is still unclear, but local media reported that drones were spotted in the area of ​​the terminal in Ust-Luka, Leningrad Region. Russia and Ukraine use drones in combat. Ukraine generally does not claim responsibility for attacks on Russian territory. Kiev has yet to comment on the incident in St. Petersburg.

Russian media have reported that a high alert has been issued in Kingsepp district. Ust-Luka is close to NATO member Estonia. According to RIA, a 100 cubic meter fuel tank caught fire.

“External Factor”

According to Novatek, operations at the terminal have been suspended. The company attributed the fire to an “external factor”. However, Novatek did not provide further details. Local Russian media reported that residents reported hearing a drone after several explosions at a gas plant near the Estonian border. Further reports speak of at least two drones previously flying in the direction of Ust-Luka. Accordingly, there are currently three major international tankers. However, there were no reports of damage to the tankers.

Both sides are particularly trying to attack the other side's energy infrastructure. Most recently, Russia covered almost all of Ukraine with several days of coordinated missile and drone strikes.

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Ukrainian media publishes videos

Ukrainian online media “Ukrainska Pravda” posted videos on the X platform (Twitter) showing the gas plant on fire. Footage shows flames shooting high into the night sky.

Last week, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, a drone from Ukraine was intercepted in the St. Petersburg region. She is said to have sustained no damage.

Russia: 25 killed in Ukrainian shelling in Donetsk

Meanwhile, at least 25 people were killed in a Ukrainian attack on a market in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, according to the latest reports from pro-Russian officials. Denis Bushilin, the pro-Russian governor of the Donetsk region, said by telegram on Sunday that another 20 people were wounded in the attack on the market.

The market was hit at a particularly busy time, Pushilin added. Officials are verifying information about the dead and missing, he said. In some cases, Ukrainian media also distributed photos and videos of the devastated market. Donetsk Mayor Alexey Kulemshin spoke of the “barbaric attack” on civilian areas of the city by Ukrainian armed forces.

Contested area since 2014

The Ukrainian armed forces have repeatedly said they want to retake territory occupied by Russian troops. The Donetsk region is controlled by Russian and partly by Ukrainian troops. Fighting has raged there since 2014, when separatists loyal to Moscow broke away from Kiev after the fall of Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych.

Russia also seized a village in the Kharkiv region during fighting in eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian military spokesman confirmed the relevant statement of the Russian Defense Ministry. He said that the Ukrainian armed forces had withdrawn from the city of Grochmalne. A Ukrainian spokesman insisted that the seizure by Russia had no impact on the overall situation.

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