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CNN: Ukrainians are destroying the most profitable branch of the Russian economy

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Ukrainian forces use autonomous drones guided by artificial intelligence to attack Russian refineries. In this way, they are destroying the most profitable branch of the Russian economy – comments the American television website CNN in its Tuesday analysis.

Ukrainian attacks on Russian refineries were made possible by advanced drones. Some of the Ukrainian drones use artificial intelligence (AI), thanks to which they are fully autonomous and do not have to communicate with the command during the flight, which makes them more reliable – an anonymous source in the Ukrainian drone development program explained to CNN.

– Precision of attacks is possible by equipping drones with artificial intelligence. Each unmanned aircraft has a computer containing satellite and field data, the source told CNN. He explained how the drones are able to achieve the required strike accuracy: “the flight path is established together with our allies, which allows the drones to strike precisely at specific targets.”

READ: The largest refinery in southern Russia has suspended production after a Ukrainian drone attack

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Ukrainian drones attacked the Ryazan refinery. A shot from the recording Reuters

Concentrated attacks on refineries

Since February 24, 2022, i.e. the beginning of Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine, the Ukrainian army has used weapons that were immediately available. The army mainly had civilian drones at its disposal, which were adapted to military needs.

Over time, Kiev managed to build its own arsenal of combat drones. Thanks to the local production of long-range unmanned aerial vehicles, the Ukrainian side began to conduct combat operations in Russia, attacking critical infrastructure targets.

Analysts speaking to CNN point out that Ukrainian forces, instead of attacking oil storage facilities, concentrated their attacks on refineries. The attacks limit Russia's ability to process oil, which is necessary not only for its sale, but also for processing and use in the arms industry.

– From what we have been able to observe, the targets attacked by Ukrainian forces need Western technology (to operate). Due to Russia's sanctions, it is very difficult to repair the damaged infrastructure, even if it is possible, it is very expensive, explained Noah Sylvia, a researcher from the British analytical center Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

Refinery fire in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russia Reuters

Change of tactics

Ukrainian attacks on Russian refineries in March indicate a “change in tactics that will enable the destruction of the Russian arms industry,” said Helima Croft from RBC Capital Markets in an interview with CNN. “This strategy may be more effective in destroying the Russian economy than the sanctions that have been imposed on it,” Croft added. She emphasized that “sanctions have bypassed the Russian energy industry,” adding that “it is the revenues from the sale of oil and gas that enable Russia to wage this war.”

In March, Reuters reported that Russia's oil processing capacity had fallen by 14 percent. The Russian authorities, without specifying the scale, confirmed these reports and suspended fuel exports so that the refinery's limited production would not affect prices on the local market.

As CNN reported, the sanctions were designed to ensure that the Russian energy market would continue to function because the West did not want to cause a violent “energy market crisis.” Therefore, the US side appealed to Kiev to stop attacks on Russian energy infrastructure.

The head of the SBU “confirmed” what the US fears

However, US appeals may be ineffective because further financial and military aid from Washington has been stalled for many months due to the conflict between the Republican and Democratic parties. This means that the Ukrainians may decide to continue attacks.

Vasyl Maluk, head of the Ukrainian intelligence service SBU, confirmed American concerns in this regard.

– It is clear that we must minimize revenues to the (Russian) budget as quickly as possible and thus cut off (Putin's) oxygen, commented Maluk, quoted by CNN. “We will continue our work and this gas station country will continue to burn,” he added.

Russia started running out of gas after drone attacks.  Ukrainian power plants, however, operate without problems

Russia started running out of gas after drone attacks. Ukrainian power plants, however, operate without problemsAndrzej Zaucha/Fakty TVN

Main photo source: Reuters

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