Ukrainian drone strikes major iron ore plant in Russia’s Kursk region

Ukrainian drone strikes major iron ore plant in Russia’s Kursk region

MOSCOW (Reuters): A Ukrainian drone struck a fuel tank at one of Russia’s largest iron ore plants on Wednesday, though no one was injured and the plant was working as normal, Russian officials and the owner of the plant said.

Unverified video footage on Russian Telegram channels showed plumes of black smoke soaring into the sky in the Kursk region and damage at the Mikhailovsky GOK iron ore plant which is owned by Metalloinvest (MTALI.UL), Russia’s largest iron ore producer.

“Today, as a result of a drone attack in the Zheleznogorsky district, a fuel tank at the fuel and lubricants warehouse of the Mikhailovsky Mining and Processing Plant caught fire,” the TASS news agency quoted the plant as saying.

It said the plant was working as normal.

“There were no casualties. The necessary measures are currently being taken to extinguish the fire.”

Kursk governor Roman Starovoit blamed Kyiv for the attack on Kursk region’s Zheleznogorsky district, which is known for its iron mines and is located around 90km (56 miles) from the Ukrainian frontier. He said later that there was a risk of missile strikes on the area.

Mikhailovsky GOK is one of the largest iron ore mining and processing facilities in Russia. Through open-pit mining, Mikhailovsky GOK develops an iron ore deposit with proven reserves of 10.4 billion tonnes, according to Metalloinvest.

Ukrainian drone attacks have repeatedly hit Russian oil refineries and other energy infrastructure in recent weeks. Kursk region has come under regular attack from Ukraine since Russia ordered tens of thousands troops into the country in Feb. 2022.

Authorities in Russia’s Belgorod and Voronezh regions, which are also regular targets for attack close to the frontline in Ukraine, said that drones had been downed there, too.

The Baza Telegram channel, which is close to Russian law enforcement, reported that the drones downed over Voronezh had been trying to attack a military airbase and an oil depot.