Four killed in strike on Russian-occupied Luhansk region on 10th anniversary of disputed Donbas referendums

A fire following a strike on the oil depot in Rovenky, Ukraine, 11 May 2024. Photo: Leonid Pasechnik

A fire following a strike on the oil depot in Rovenky, Ukraine, 11 May 2024. Photo: Leonid Pasechnik

At least four people were killed in an overnight Ukrainian strike on an oil depot in the Russian-occupied Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported on Saturday.

A further 11 people were injured, two of whom are in critical condition, after a fire broke out at the depot in the town of Rovenky following the strike, RIA Novosti added.

The pro-Russian head of the “Luhansk People’s Republic” Leonid Pasechnik accused Ukraine of using US-supplied ATACMS long-range missile in the attack, which he called a “crime against the civilian population”.

Artem Lysohor, Ukraine’s governor of the Luhansk region, confirmed the strike, saying that it had caused “significant” damage to the oil depot that would make it “even more challenging” for Russia to maintain fuel supplies to its forces in the region.

News of the attack came just hours before the Kremlin published telegrams from Vladimir Putin congratulating the self-proclaimed Donbas republics on the 10th anniversary of widely-criticised “referendums” in which residents supposedly voted overwhelmingly in favour of secession from Ukraine.

In his messages, Putin praised the Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” for “expressing their will” to be reunited with their “motherland” Russia, and promised that Russia would “restore peace to the Donbas”.

The authorities in the regions of Russia bordering Ukraine also reported two deaths overnight in Ukrainian strikes overnight. Kursk region Governor Roman Starovoyt said that one person had died of injuries sustained in an attack on the town of Sudzha, while Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov reported that one person had been killed by a quadcopter drone in the village of Novostroyevka-Pervaya.

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