Following the attack on the Kremlin and a sequence of drone strikes targeting oil depots and refineries in southern Russia and the Crimean peninsula, the focus of the discussion surrounding the war with Ukraine has shifted to the extent and character of Ukrainian drone operations beyond the war zone. The Insider has compiled and examined data from publicly available sources pertaining to UAV incidents in Russia, Crimea, and Sevastopol between April 29 and May 7.
Since April 29, a total of 25 reports of drone incidents have been recorded in open sources across 10 regions, including Belgorod region (5 reports), Bryansk region (5), Krasnodar krai (3), Sevastopol (3), Crimea (2), Moscow region (2), Rostov region (2), Voronezh region (1), Kursk region (1), and Moscow (1). The majority of these incidents took place in regions bordering Ukraine, although some occurred at a significant distance from the frontline or the Russian-Ukrainian border. Out of the 24 cases analyzed, more than half (i.e. 14 cases) resulted in successful attacks on targets, as evidenced by the map below.
Regarding the likely targets connected with the drone flights, the majority appear to be military sites (airfields, defense installations, etc.) and fuel/energy infrastructure facilities (oil depots, refineries). In fact, there have been five known drone strikes targeting oil depots and refineries, with the Ilsky refinery in Krasnodar krai being attacked twice in a span of just two days.
Out of the 25 incidents, only six involved UAVs being either shot down or disabled by electronic warfare systems. In another five cases, the drones were detected but then they crashed or flew away to an unknown location. The remaining incidents resulted in the targets being successfully hit.
List of drone incidents (map being updated):
- 29.04.2023, Crimea, Zernove village, Krasnogvardeyskiy district. A UAV fell 2 km from the village of Zernove in Crimea. UAV crashed, outcome unclear.
- 29.04.2023, Sevastopol Cossack Bay. Several drones attacked an oil depot in Sevastopol. Several fuel tanks burned down. Target hit. Refinery/oil depot.
- 30.04.2023, Bryansk region. Sushany village, Klimovsk district. A drone dropped a munition on military unit 64044. Two servicemen were wounded. Target hit. Military facility.
- 30.04.2023, Bryansk region. Valuyets village, Pochep district. A quadcopter dropped a munition on military unit 96848. A serviceman was wounded. Target hit. Military facility.
- 01.05.2023, Crimea, Evpatoria. UAV spotted and shot down. UAV intercepted, outcome unclear.
- 02.05.2023, Belgorod region. Prilesye village. A UAV dropped an explosive device on protective structures under construction. A construction worker was injured. Target hit. Military facility.
- 02.05.2023, Belgorod region. Sereda village. Three UAVs dropped explosive devices. Target hit, outcome unclear.
- 02.05.2023, Bryansk region. Ales village. A drone dropped an explosive device on a building under construction. Excavator damaged. Target hit, outcome unclear.
- 02.05.2023, Belgorod region. Repyakhovka village. An aircraft-type UAV with explosives (VOG-17) tried to attack an electric substation in the village of Repyakhovka but was intercepted. UAV intercepted. Infrastructure facility.
- 03.05.2023, Moscow, Kremlin. Two UAVs exploded near the flagpole of the Senate Palace, damaging the roof of the dome. Target hit. Administrative building.
- 03.05.2023, Bryansk region. Seshcha airfield. Five UAVs exploded or were shot down at a military airfield. An Antonov An-124 aircraft sustained minor damage. Target hit, military facility.
- 03.05.2023, Moscow region. Kolomna. Fixed-wing UAV wreckage was found near Kolomna. UAV crashed; outcome unclear.
- 03.05.2023, Krasnodar region, Volna village. Two UAVs attacked an oil depot in Volna village. An oil tank caught fire. Target hit.
- 03.05.2023, Belgorod region, Vyazovoye village. A kamikaze drone attacked a water tower. The tower was damaged. Target hit.
- 04.05.2023, Voronezh region, Buturlinovka village. A UAV crashed inside a military compound and exploded, no one was injured. The UAV was intercepted. Military facility.
- 04.05.2023, Sevastopol, Belbek airfield. A UAV was intercepted near the Belbek military airfield. The UAV was shot down. Military target.
- 04.05.2023, Belgorod region. Outskirts of Belgorod. A 'Shark UAV equipped with a camera, but no munitions, was intercepted near Belgorod. The UAV was shot down. UAV intercepted, outcome unclear.
- 04.05.2023, Bryansk region. Poleviye Novoselki village, Suzem district. UAVs attacked the village of Poleviye Novoselki. Several homes damaged, power supply disrupted. Target hit, outcome unclear.
- 04.05.2023, Krasnodar krai, Ilsky settlement, Seversk district. Four UAVs attacked the Ilsky refinery oil tanks, a fire broke out. Target hit. Refinery/oil depot.
- 04.05.2023. Krasnosulinsk district, Rostov region. A UAV crashed into an inter-plant ramp at the Novoshakhtinsk refinery and exploded. A fire broke out. Target hit. Oil refinery/oil depot.
- 05.05.2023, Moscow region, Sheremetyevo airport. A drone attempted to attack an Aeroflot Airbus A320. It halted dozens of meters shy of the plane, changed its course and flew away. UAV flew away. Civil aircraft.
- 05.05.2023, Nizhnedonsky village. 3.3-meter-long drone wreckage was found in a field near the village of Nizhnedonsky. UAV crashed, outcome unclear.
- 05.05.2023, Krasnodar region, Seversk district, Ilsky settlement. A UAV attacked the Ilsky oil refinery, a fire broke out. The refinery equipment was damaged. Target hit. Refinery/oil depot.
- 07.05.2023, Sevastopol, a UAV lost control and crashed into a forest at km marker 5, wreckage was found by police and Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations. A second UAV was shot down over the sea near Cape Kherson, and a third UAV was shot down over the sea from the North Mole breakwater. UAV shot down.
- 07.05.2023, Kursk region. A UAV with «Glory to Ukraine» written on its wing was found near Polozovka