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1,000 km away from Ukraine: Details of attacks on Russian Shahed making plant and refinery in Tatarstan

1,000 km away from Ukraine: Details of attacks on Russian Shahed making plant and refinery in Tatarstan Photo: Ukrainian drones hit Shahed assembly plant and refinery in Tatarstan (Getty Images)

This morning, Ukrainian drones struck a plant assembling Shahed drones and an oil refinery in Tatarstan. These are currently the most remote locations of Russian targets hit from Ukraine's borders, as the minimum distance from areas controlled by the Ukrainian Armed Forces exceeds 1,000 km.

RBC-Ukraine reports on the attacks in Tatarstan and their consequences.

Sources: exclusive comments from sources, Telegram channels Baza, Mash, statements from the head of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov and the mayor of Nizhnekamsk Ramil Mullin,, and other open sources.

Telegram channels were the first to report on the drone attack. According to them, the first explosions occurred around 6 in the morning in the territory of the Alabuga Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Eyewitnesses shared footage of the drone's flight and its hitting one of the buildings. Following this, the head of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov confirmed the drone attack on a number of enterprises in Yelabuga and Nizhnekamsk.

"This morning, unmanned aerial vehicles attacked enterprises in the republic in Yelabuga and Nizhnekamsk," he wrote.

As for the consequences, the Russian authorities traditionally were silent. They claim there are "no serious damages and the technological process of the enterprises is not disrupted."

"Unfortunately, there was damage to the building in Yelabuga. All necessary assistance is being provided to them. All services are on high alert," Minnikhanov added.

However, as reported by Russian Telegram channels, the consequences of the attack are indeed noticeable and quite significant.

Assembly plant for Shahed drones and dormitory

As later revealed by RBC-Ukraine sources within intelligence, the target of the attack was a plant assembling kamikaze drones Shahed, which Russians mark as Geran-2. The operation was organized by the Defense Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, resulting in significant damage to production facilities, according to a source.

On the other hand, the management of the SEZ claims that drones hit a dormitory of the local college Yelabuga Polytech. Pro-Kremlin media write about the hit of one drone, with at least 7 injured.

Back in the summer of 2023, the Russian opposition community Protokol wrote that students from Alabuga were involved in assembling Shahed drones for the front line. Teenagers aged 15 to 17 are forced to work round the clock, sometimes without breaks for sleep and food, with refusal to work resulting in expulsion.

1,000 km away from Ukraine: Details of attacks on Russian Shahed making plant and refinery in TatarstanPhoto: One of the drones, according to occupiers, crashed into a dormitory where students are housed (Russian media)

What is known about Alabuga SEZ

Alabuga is a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the Yelabuga district of Tatarstan. It is located 10 km from Yelabuga, 25 km from Naberezhnye Chelny, 40 km from Nizhnekamsk, and 210 km from Kazan. It covers an area of ​​3903.5 hectares.

In 2015, 2016, and 2017, it was awarded the title of the best SEZ in Europe for large businesses according to fDiIntelligence magazine (part of the Financial Times group).

In 2019, Alabuga became the largest industrial-type special economic zone in Russia, contributing 59% of total revenue and 34% of tax revenues from all SEZs in the country, attracting 39% of private investments in Russian SEZs.

1,000 km away from Ukraine: Details of attacks on Russian Shahed making plant and refinery in TatarstanPhoto: View of the Alabuga Special Economic Zone (

After the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, many foreign companies that planned to become residents of Alabuga and build their enterprises there abandoned these plans. Besides, major residents began leaving the SEZ, including the American automaker Ford, which exited the joint venture with the Russian group Sollers for producing Ford Transit light commercial vehicles.

Another prime target for Ukrainian drones in this economic zone is the Elaz-Naftoprodukt refinery. Initially, there were reports online that this oil refinery also came under attack, but later it was clarified that it was referring to the Taneco refinery.

Taneco refinery in Nizhnekamsk

RBC-Ukraine sources within the special services reported that Ukrainian drones were able to hit the Taneco refinery in Nizhnekamsk. These were joint actions of the Ukrainian Security Service and Defense Intelligence.

As the interlocutors said, the Ukrainian long-range drone hit the primary oil processing facility at the refinery in Nizhnekamsk, after which a fire broke out there.

"We continue to work systematically to ensure that Russia has fewer and fewer opportunities to finance the war of aggression against Ukraine. We will continue to cut off oxygen to the gas country to minimize the flow of petrodollars to the military budget of the Russian Federation," the source said.

The source noted that explosions at Russian refineries and other facilities would continue and intensify.

"We will not stop striking the military infrastructure of the aggressor country so that it has fewer and fewer opportunities to finance the genocidal war against Ukraine. We will continue to make efforts to minimize the flow of petrodollars to the Russian military budget," added the intelligence.

Meanwhile, the Telegram channel Baza reported that three people were injured.

1,000 km away from Ukraine: Details of attacks on Russian Shahed making plant and refinery in TatarstanPhoto: Refinery in Nizhnekamsk came under attack (Russian media)

Mayor Ramil Mullin of Nizhnekamsk also commented on the incident. He stated that a drone indeed "attempted to attack the oil refinery," but allegedly, it was thwarted by radio-electronic warfare systems. According to him, "there were no damages or casualties as a result." However, his statements contradict photos online, which, as claimed by Russian media, show a significant fire at the refinery. According to preliminary data, the drone hit one of the installations, causing the fire.

Taneco refinery (Tatar Oil Refining Complex) of the Tatneft company was founded in 2005. This is the first refinery built from scratch in post-Soviet Russia. In 2022, it rose to fifth place in the ranking of the country's largest oil refineries, with a processing capacity of 16.2 million tons of oil per year.

1,000 km away from Ukraine: Details of attacks on Russian Shahed making plant and refinery in TatarstanPhoto: Taneco is a modern enterprise in the Russian Federation, which was built relatively recently (Getty Images)

Drone attacks on Russia

Recently, Russian targets have often been hit by drone strikes, including mass attacks on Russian oil and gas facilities. While the closest strike points were within 100 km, the farthest reached up to 900 km (the terminal in Ust-Luga near St. Petersburg). Today, it's not excluded that Ukrainian drones have set a record, hitting targets over 1,000 km away.

These attacks cause significant damage to Russia. Recently, British intelligence reported that Russian oil refining capacities were decreasing due to drone attacks, and damaged refineries would take longer to repair over Western sanctions against Russian enterprises and restrictions on importing essential equipment to the aggressor country.

Furthermore, Bloomberg reports that Russia is reducing diesel exports after attacks on refineries.

Recently, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy revealed that the United States did not react positively to drone strikes on oil refineries in Russia. However, the head of state believes that stopping Russian attacks on Ukraine's energy system can only be achieved by making Russians pay a similar price.