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Ukraine updates: Oil facility hit 1,200 km inside Russia

Published May 9, 2024last updated May 9, 2024

Reports suggest a Ukrainian drone attack struck a Russian refinery after flying a "record" distance. Russia also earlier reported attacks over Belgorod and Krasnodar, with the latter causing fuel depot fire. DW has more.

A file photo of the Gazprom Neftekhim Salavat in Bashkortostan
Gazprom Neftekhim Salavat is Russia's major petrochemical complex, located in the Republic of BashkortostanImage: Evgeny Romanov/Pond5 Images/IMAGO
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

A Russian official and international media reports citing a Ukrainian intelligence source said Ukraine struck a Russian oil processing plant in Bashkortostan, nearly 1,200 kilometres (746 miles) from the border.

Earlier on Thursday, Russia reported eight wounded in overnight drone strikes on the border city of Belgorod and a fuel depot fire in Krasnodar.

Ukrainian officials, meanwhile, said that air defenses intercepted 17 Russian drones over Odesa.

Here's a look at the latest developments in Russia's war in Ukraine on May 9:

Skip next section Germany to buy HIMARS from US for Ukraine
May 9, 2024

Germany to buy HIMARS from US for Ukraine

Germany will supply three HIMARS rocket systems to Ukraine, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius announced in Washington.

"They come from the stocks of the US armed forces and will be paid for by us," Pistorius said after meeting with his US counterpart Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon. 

HIMARS have proven crucial in upping Ukraine's military strength — effective at striking key command, communications, and logistics centers well behind enemy lines, all while remaining safely out of range of Russian shelling.

Germany is Ukraine's second-largest donor of military aid after the United States. It most recently pledged a US-made Patriot air defense system and air defense missiles to Ukraine.

Pistorius also said Germany was willing to assume more military responsibility for security in Europe and the world.

"We are taking on more responsibility and together with other NATO's allies, are increasing our investments in defense substantially," he said.

He cited increased German defense spending that now is above NATO's target of at least 2% of gross domestic product (GDP), as well as preparations to permanently deploy a brigade to Lithuania and leadership in a European air defense initiative.

Skip next section Ukrainian gymnasts symbolically help kick off Olympic torch relay in France
May 9, 2024

Ukrainian gymnasts symbolically help kick off Olympic torch relay in France

Ukrainian gymnast Mariia Vysochanska led a group of European athletes as the Olympic torch relay began in the French port city of Marseille.

French sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said it was a " way of emphasizing our solidarity with Ukraine... at a time when they are suffering a terrible war of aggression."

"This is a sign of unity, hope and solidarity, we want them to win," she added. 

Ukraine's deputy sports minister, Viktoriia Riasna, also expressed her delight and gratitude.

"Ukraine is Europe. Ukraine today became the captain of the torch relay with 27 other representatives from EU countries. It means a lot to us. And I really hope it means a lot to (the) EU, " Riasna told reporters.

The torch relay in Marseille marked the beginning of an 11-week journey across France ahead of the Olympics' opening ceremony on July 26.

Skip next section Zelenskyy replaces head of unit operating in Russia-occupied territories
May 9, 2024

Zelenskyy replaces head of unit operating in Russia-occupied territories

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy replaced the commander of his special forces, Colonel Serhiy Lupanchuk, with Brigadier General Oleksandr Trepak. 

The dismissal of Lupanchuk marked the second time in half a year that Zelenskyy changed the head of the unit that operates in Russian-occupied territories. No explanation was provided in the decree. 

Newly appointed Trepak has been actively participating in defense operations in eastern Ukraine against Moscow-backed separatists since 2014.

Zelenskyy has changed the military's chain of command at different levels since February when he replaced the top commander, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, with then-ground forces Commander Oleksandr Syrskyi

Skip next section Putin says Russia, Belarus start nuclear drills preparation
May 9, 2024

Putin says Russia, Belarus start nuclear drills preparation

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia and Belarus had started preparations for joint tactical nuclear weapons exercises

Putin said that there was "nothing unusual" about the drills, adding that "this is planned work... it is training."

On Monday, Moscow announced that it would practice deploying tactical nuclear weapons as part of a military drill. The announcement explicitly linked the exercises to what Russia said were threats from France, Britain and the United States.

"We hold them regularly," Putin said. "This time they are held in three stages. At the second stage, Belarusian colleagues will join our joint actions."

Speaking alongside Putin, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said this was the third such exercise.

"There were probably dozens in Russia, so we synchronized. And the general staffs, as the Russian defense minister told me, have already begun to execute these instructions," Lukashenko said.

Skip next section Ukraine drone reportedly hits refinery nearly 1,200 km inside Russia
May 9, 2024

Ukraine drone reportedly hits refinery nearly 1,200 km inside Russia

Ukraine's security service SBU launched a drone strike on a Russian oil refinery located 1,200 kilometers (746 miles) away from the border, according to a Ukrainian defense source and a Russian official. 

The Ukrainian source told the French news agency AFP that the strike on the refinery in the Russian republic of Bashkortostan was carried out at a "record range."

The source said the drone had flown a distance of 1,500 kilometers.

The head of the region, Radiy Khabirov, and Russian emergency services said there was damage to a pumping station at the Salavat refinery in Bashkortostan, which belongs to Russian energy giant Gazprom.

"There is no fire and no casualties," the Emergency Situations Ministry said on social media.

The claims could not be independently verified. 

Skip next section Putin accuses 'arrogant' West of risking wider war at WWII parade
May 9, 2024

Putin accuses 'arrogant' West of risking wider war at WWII parade

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the West of risking a global conflict with its response to the invasion of Ukraine during his speech to soldiers at the parade. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a military parade on Victory Day, which marks the 79th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2024.
Putin said that while Russia did not want a wider conflict, it would not 'allow' threatsImage: Kremlin.ru/REUTERS

He said that "arrogant" leaders in the West had forgotten the role the Soviet Union had played in World War II. He also accused them of stoking conflicts throughout the world. 

"Russia will do everything to prevent a global clash. But at the same time, we will not allow anyone to threaten us," Putin said, before alluding to the country's nuclear capabilities. "Our strategic forces are always in a state of combat readiness."

You can read about the Victory Day parade in Moscow in more detail here

Servicemen stand in formation in Moscow's Red Square ahead of a Victory Day military parade marking the 79th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
Some observers noted a preponderence of infantry, but less equipment like tanks on display in Thursday's parade, and asked whether this showed the materiel strain the conflict in Ukraine was takingImage: Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS/dpa/picture alliance
Skip next section Moscow readies for May 9 'Victory Day' military parade
May 9, 2024

Moscow readies for May 9 'Victory Day' military parade

Russia will hold its tradition military parade at Red Square in Moscow on Thursday marking Nazi Germany's 1945 capitulation in World War II

President Vladimir Putin is expected to deliver a speech, and most likely to speak in defense of the war in Ukraine. 

Russian media reported that some 9,000 soldiers, including some who have been fighting in Ukraine, would participate. An air show, canceled the last two years, is also anticipated.

Western leaders will not be in attendance. But the Kremlin has said that heads of state or government from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenista, Cuba, Laos and Guinea Bissau were expected to sit in the visitors' gallery next to Putin. 

Russia marks Germany's capitulation a day later than western European countries and the US, on May 9

That's because the surrender was formally and intentionally signed at 11:01 p.m. on May 8 by Berlin time, and therefore at one minute past midnight in Moscow. The idea at the time was to give the then-Soviet Union its own day to commemorate the end of the war in Europe, a national holiday known in Russia as "Victory Day." 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, meanwhile, compared his country's defense against Russia with the Soviet fight against Nazi Germany in his nightly video address on Wednesday. Ukraine last year switched its day of commemoration for the end of World War II to May 8.

Skip next section South Korea says arms for Ukraine not on table
May 9, 2024

South Korea says arms for Ukraine not on table

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol gave a rare speech on Thursday, touching on a range of mainly domestic issues after a poor parliamentary election performance, but also addressing the war in Ukraine. 

Yoon said Seoul would maintain strong ties with Ukraine and a "smooth" relationship with Russia, and also ruled out South Korean direct military shipments to Ukraine. 

US and European allies had been trying to convince South Korea, a major arms exporter, to do more to help Kyiv, partly amid North Korea's alleged weapons transfers to Russia for use in Ukraine

South Korea, like Japan, has a longstanding policy of not sending weapons to hot conflicts. Germany also had such a tradition following its defeat in World War II but changed course following Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Yoon told reporters it remained the country's "firm stance" not to send lethal weapons to countries in conflict.

But he said Seoul was doing its best "to provide humanitarian and reconstruction assistance [for Ukraine], in accordance with the spirit of the constitution." 

South Korea has, however, provided some indirect military assistance. It's providing ammunition to the US on condition that it is only used by the US, but therefore simultaneously enabling the redirection of other resources towards Kyiv.

Skip next section Ukraine downs 17 drones over Odesa, 2 dead in Nikopol
May 9, 2024

Ukraine downs 17 drones over Odesa, 2 dead in Nikopol

Ukraine's Air Force said on Telegram that air defense systems destroyed 17 of 20 drones fired at its territory by Russia overnight. 

The drones were destroyed over the Odesa region in southern Ukraine, according to the military. The city of Odesa has come under repeated missile and drone fire in recent weeks

Also in southern Ukraine, in the city of Nikopol on the contested banks of the Dnipro river, two people were killed by artillery fire, according to regional governor Sergiy Lysak. 

Skip next section 8 injured in Belgorod, fuel depot fire in Krasnodar
May 9, 2024

8 injured in Belgorod, fuel depot fire in Krasnodar

Russian officials reported renewed overnight fire on the border city of Belgorod early on Thursday, reporting eight people injured, with five taken to hospital with shrapnel wounds. 

Regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said that 19 apartments, one private residence and 37 vehicles were damaged. 

Russia's Defense Ministry said the city came under drone and rocket fire. Belgorod is a frequent target for Ukrainian attacks, including one earlier in the week that killed six and wounded 35. 

Putin vows to secure border city Belgorod, warns of counterattack

The ministry also reported drone activity in other regions near the border like Kursk and Bryansk.

Russia's army said that a drone attack in a village in the Krasnodar region had targeted a fuel depot. 

"About six drones were destroyed but many fell on the complex. As a result, a fire broke out and several reservoirs were damaged," the chief of staff in the Krasnodar region said.