Fire breaks out at Russia’s Novatek gas terminal, Leningrad’s governor says

A fire has engulfed a St Peterburg facility belonging to Russia’s largest liquefied natural gas producer, according to local officials, amid reports of a Ukrainian drone attack in the area.

Drone attacks targeted the Novatek terminal in the port of Ust-Luga early Sunday, damaging a large gas storage facility, as reported by the regional newspaper operating out of St Petersburg, Fontanka.

Leningrad‘s governor, Alexander Drozdenko confirmed the outbreak of fire at the facility of the largest liquefied natural gas producer Novatek on the Baltic Sea.

But did not confirm the cause of the fire.

If confirmed to be a Ukrainian drone strike, it will be the third one on Russian energy this week.

The governor said people were evacuated and a “high alert regime” has been introduced in the Kingisepp district.

Ust-Luga, located about 130km southwest of St Petersburg, is one of the country’s two main Baltic Sea ports used for energy export by the world’s largest energy exporters. The plant processes gas to the capacity of seven million tons per year for the international market.

It came as a latest blow to the Russian energy sector after Ukrainian drone attacks hit on Friday caused a massive fire at an oil depot in Russia’s western region of Bryansk bordering Ukraine. On Thursday, a drone attack targeted an oil-loading terminal in St Petersburg.

This video grab taken from a handout footage published on the official Telegram account of the governor of the Leningrad region Aleksandr Drozdenko (Telegram / @drozdenko_au_lo/AFP)
This video grab taken from a handout footage published on the official Telegram account of the governor of the Leningrad region Aleksandr Drozdenko (Telegram / @drozdenko_au_lo/AFP)

In both drone strikes, Russia claimed that the fire was caused after the drone was brought down, and the wreckage fell over the facilities.

On Sunday, at least two drones were spotted in the sky flying towards St Petersburg before the reports of the fire at the terminal, reported Fontanka.

Baza, a Russian news outlet known for its security services contacts, posted on Telegram footage of huge flames shooting into the sky over what seemed like an industrial complex.

The cross-border attacks in Russian territory were part of a “new phase” of strikes. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky had previously pledged to target more locations inside Russia this year, aiming to disrupt daily life and increase pressure on Vladimir Putin, according to a Ukrainian military source.

Thursday’s attack on two fuel tankers of an oil facility at St Petersburg, Vladimir Putin’s hometown which is 500 miles from the border, was the first known attack in the Leningrad region since the war began.

Russian authorities also reported a missile attack on the city of Belgorod, forcing the regional emergencies ministry to cancel the city’s traditional Orthodox Epiphany festivities, according to state news agency Tass, which were set to take place on Friday. The annual celebrations are widespread in Russia.