On Monday, Russia said it would investigate the cause of a large fire that erupted in the early hours of the morning near the area of the Druzhba oil depot, an oil storage facility outside the city of Bryansk just 96 miles northeast of its border with Ukraine. Some reports have indicated it could be a possible attack by Ukrainian forces on the Druzhba pipeline, which sends oil from Russia to Europe through Ukraine and Belarus.

Fires blaze out of control at a fuel depot used as a logistics base in Bryansk, Russia. Video footage courtesy of YouTube and The Telegraph

Explosions rocked the fuel facility and logistics hub near the Ukrainian border, the results of a reported missile strike. A second blaze raged close to the depot this morning, with unconfirmed reports it started at a military base holding ammunition.

This is the second such fire on the Russian side of the shared border with Ukraine in two weeks. The first was the result of a daring Ukrainian airstrike on a petroleum storage facility in the city of Belgorod.
Speculation is mounting that Ukrainian forces could be mounting a covert campaign targeting Russian infrastructure crucial to fueling the war effort.

This morning, two huge smoke columns rise over the Russian city of 400,000. Image Credit: metro.co.uk

CCTV footage of the incident seemed to capture the sound of a missile before the oil storage facility exploded, but authorities could not verify this. Earlier this week, the same Russian officials who reported sightings of Ukrainian helicopters in the area also said that no one had been injured in the blasts.

In a separate incident, the governor of the Russian Kursk region, which borders Ukraine, said their air defense systems had recently taken out two reconnaissance drones that may have been target seeking. These actions point to increasing Ukrainian clandestine activity along the Russian border region.

This is at a time when the West is considerably ramping up shipments of military aid to Ukraine as Russia intensifies its efforts in the Donbas region. The Kremlin seems to be attempting to take the entirety of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and at least some of Ukraine’s southern coastline. If successful, the move would give them almost unfettered access to the Black Sea.

Russia’s war on Ukraine, which was supposed to take just days and result in the toppling of its pro-western government, is now into its third month. Kyiv claims to have killed over 20,000 enemy soldiers while destroying military equipment worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.

Since invading their neighbor, Putin’s army has suffered a series of embarrassing losses, the most recent and perhaps most notable of which was the destruction of the Moskva missile cruiser by Ukrainian-fired missiles.

This seeming ability to prevent Ukraine from reaching over the border and striking targets in the homeland is undoubtedly causing serious frustration inside the Kremlin.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in an address to reporters following his visit to Kyiv, struck an optimistic note. He said, “When it comes to Russia’s war aims, Russia is failing, Ukraine is succeeding.”