NewsNovocherkassk power plant hit by fire amid claims of Ukrainian drone attacks

Novocherkassk power plant hit by fire amid claims of Ukrainian drone attacks

Nowoczerkaska Power Plant
Nowoczerkaska Power Plant
Images source: © Telegram, X | Telegram X
4:11 AM EDT, March 25, 2024
During the transition from Sunday to Monday, a fire ignited at the heat power plant in Novocherkassk, located in the Rostov region of the European part of Russia. Reports from social media suggested that the incident might have been the result of an attack by Ukrainian drones.
Following the incident, two blocks of the power plant were decommissioned, leading to temporary power outages for the residents of the area. Authorities were able to extinguish the fire promptly, and fortunately, there were no injuries reported. Vasily Golubev, the Governor of Rostov region, shared these updates on Telegram.
Reuters pointed out that the heat power plant in Novocherkassk, which falls under the management of Gazprom, a major state energy conglomerate, ranks among the largest of its type in southwestern Russia.
Kommersant provided additional details on the plant, named the Novocherkassk Power Plant (Novocherkasskaya GRES), stating its operations began in 1965 and is situated approximately 33 miles away from Rostov-on-Don. According to the website of the State System Operator, this power plant, in conjunction with the Rostov Nuclear Power Plant, serves as a cornerstone in the Rostov energy system with an installed capacity of 2258 MW.

Russia points to drones from Ukraine

The Ministry of Defense in Moscow disclosed that on the night of the incident, 11 Ukrainian drones were neutralized in the airspace over the Rostov region. However, reports from Ukrainska Pravda indicated that Russian anti-aircraft defence might not have intercepted all the drones, as residents near Rostov-on-Don shared accounts of a drone raid and subsequent explosions near the power facility via social networks.

As of now, officials in Kiev have yet to comment on these allegations.
In March, Ukrainian military intelligence (HUR) and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) confirmed their involvement in attacks on several refineries across Russia, targeting locations such as Slavyansk in the Krasnodar Krai, Novoshakhtinsk in the Rostov region, and additional facilities in Ryazan, Kstovo in the Nizhny Novgorod region, and Kirishi in the Leningrad region. Russian and Ukrainian media also reported on assaults aimed at refineries in Syzran and Novokuibyshevsk in the Samara region and a fire near the heat power plant in Petersburg.
There were further reports in the first half of the month concerning drone attacks on critical industrial facilities associated with the Russian arms industry, including the Mikhailovsky Mining and Processing Plant in Zheleznogorsk in the Kursk region and the Severstal metallurgical plants in Cherepovets in the Vologda region.

Blow to Russian fuel production

Reuters reported that in the first quarter of 2024, the cumulative processing capacity of Russian refineries affected by drone attacks reached about 4.6 million tons of crude oil, or an average of 370,500 barrels per day. This figure represents approximately 7% of the total processing capacity across all refineries in the country.
The US has consistently maintained a stance of discouraging Ukraine from executing attacks within Russian borders or supporting such actions.
On March 22, the Financial Times revealed that Washington has been urging Kiev to cease drone attacks on refineries, citing concerns over potential spikes in global oil prices as a primary reason.
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