Strategic operation against Russian oil industry – sanctions in actions

Strategic operation against Russian oil industry - sanctions in actions

Strategic operation against the Russian oil industry - success of tactics, weapons and management.

Within two months, from January 24 to March 25, 2024, the Ukrainian defense forces conducted their first large-scale operation against a strategic sector of the Russian economy - oil refineries.

Russian air defense offered desperate resistance, but thanks to good planning, coordination and high-quality Ukrainian-made drones, our soldiers hit 10 oil refineries, 1 liquefied natural gas plant and 1 district power plant. Previously, Russia suffered only one strategic blow to its economy during the war - in 2022, unknown persons blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines, which Russia used to blackmail Europe and receive excess profits from the EU.

But the Ukrainian drone strike opens up new great opportunities for waging an economic warfare against the Russian Federation, damaging Russian infrastructure and industry on a much larger scale.

Results of Ukrainian strikes on Russian refineries

Partially disabled or completely stopped:

1. Tuapse refinery.

2. Nizhny Novgorod refinery.

3. Ryazan refinery.

4. Novokuibyshevsk refinery.

5. Syzran refinery.

6. Slaviansk refinery.

7. Ilsky refinery.

8. Volgograd refinery.

9. Novoshakhtinsky refinery.

10. Kuibyshev refinery.

11. Us-Luzsky LNG plant.

12. Novocherkassk GRES (transformer substations).

The most vulnerable places of the refinery, the distillation columns, were chosen for high-precision strikes. Ukrainian experts estimate the direct damage from the destruction of valuable equipment at about $1.5 billion.

Indirect losses - the drop in the capacities of the Russian oil industry is estimated at more than 70 million tons per year, which is more than 25% of all the capacities of the Russian Federation.

This has led to:

  • raising gasoline prices in the Russian Federation by up to 50%;
  • closure of gasoline exports from the russian Federation (budget losses for six months of USD 2 billion plus USD 4 billion shortfall for oil companies);
  • reduction of production by 500,000 barrels per day (losses for the year can amount to $12 billion);
  • a significant reduction in fuel supplies to the Russian Armed Forces on the territory of Ukraine.

New tactics and weapons

Such high efficiency became possible due to a clear statement of tasks by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief V. Zelenskyy (yes, strange as it may sound, but for the first time during the war it is worth noting the adequacy and responsibility in the actions of the head of the Stavka) and the combination of several defense structures and a drone manufacturer. For the first time during the war, various government structures organized themselves, ensured funding for a batch of long-range drones, a plan for their use, and coordination of several structures of the defense forces at once. An unprecedented event.

For the first time, the state budget funds were allocated to finance the production of the Liut attack drone, the Ukrainian equivalent of the Iranian Shahed.

Liut was developed a year ago, in 2023, proactively, without a state order, but for a long time there was no attention to this project and no proper funding. But in January 2024, financing and serial production began. Liut drones with a 50 kg warhead have shown their high combat effectiveness and reliability, resistance to all EW means of the Russian Armed Forces, and long range. The Kuibyshev refinery was hit at a distance of 900 km, and this is a straight line range, and drones are not launched in a straight line, so the real range is much higher.

The attacks were effective because, for the first time during the war, the SBU, the Defence Intelligence, and the AFU acted in a coordinated manner when planning the operation, conducting reconnaissance, training drones and operators, and choosing tactics and procedures.

For the first time, a single coordination center was determined, and this is the center of the Unmanned Forces of the AFU, which have just been created but are already producing the first results.

I congratulate all the participants and leaders of the operation, and I wish the scale of strikes on the Russian Federation increases tenfold. And the enemy must be held accountable for the destruction of the Ukrainian economy. The US and EU sanctions failed to reduce russian exports for two years, whereas Ukrainian drones managed to do this just within two months. And all this is done at low expenses with a small number of drones. This successful operation of our state should become an example of actions for other areas of warfare.

Yuriy Butusov, Editor in Chief,

Ukraine Front Line


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