A massive explosion and inferno at a fuel depot near an airport in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, where Vladimir Putin has his official Black Sea summer residence, was caused by a drone strike, as revealed by security images.
Although Ukraine has not yet claimed responsibility, it is believed to be the first time the spa town has been attacked by a Ukrainian kamikaze drone.
In slow-motion CCTV footage, the drone can be seen crashing into the fuel tank and immediately causing a large fire in the attack which was heard “like thunder” by Sochi residents around 5am.
Footage after the incident later revealed that Russian investigators were removing the remains of the drone from the rubble for further investigation.
Timing of the September 20, 2023 drone attack on a fuel depot in Sochi. A drone can be seen crashing into the fuel tank.
The drone can be seen crashing into the fuel tank and immediately causing a large fire in the attack that was heard “like thunder” by Sochi residents around 5 a.m.
Dozens of firefighters extinguished the fire in the early hours of the morning.
First responders are seen working to extinguish the fire at the warehouse.
Several armed Russian men dressed in military uniform are seen carrying the remains of a drone that attacked the Sochi fuel depot early on September 20, 2023.
Dozens of firefighters were called to the scene to extinguish the fire, according to Krasnodar regional governor Veniamin Kondratyev, who made no mention of the drone attack.
‘More than 60 [firefighters] and there are 15 teams working there,’ he said.
‘There is no risk of the fire spreading. The reasons for the incident are being clarified.’
The burning tank contained 1,200 tons of diesel, according to a local media report.
“There were no victims,” said the mayor, Alexei Kopaigorodskyi, on the Telegram messaging platform.
“The airport and the entire transportation system are operating normally.”
Viktor Alksnis, a Soviet military tactician and politician known as the Black Colonel, immediately suggested that Ukraine was targeting Putin’s official residence, Bocharov Ruchey, where the Kremlin leader met with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, the end of week.
Putin, 70, usually runs the Russian government from Sochi and visits the city several times a year. Bocharov Ruchey is his official summer residence.
It is also the main base of his alleged lover Alina Kabaeva, 40, who presides over an elite gymnastics academy in the town.
“It seems that the favorite vacation spot of the President of the Russian Federation, the Bocharov Ruchey residence near Sochi, will become inaccessible for security reasons,” he posted.
Putin, 70, usually runs the Russian government from Sochi and visits the city several times a year. Bocharov Ruchey (pictured) is his official summer residence
Huge plumes of black smoke billowed into the sky as the sun rose over Sochi this morning.
Smoke rises over Sochi after this morning’s strike
Vladimir Putin at the Bocharov Ruchei residence, Sochi, in the summer of 2015
War analyst, former Soviet politician Viktor Alksnis
‘Ukraine is carrying out a real hunt for Putin.
“If in this case it is an attack by a Ukrainian drone, then the residence of Bocharov Ruchey is already the third attempt to attack the official residences of the President of the Russian Federation with a UAV.
“The first attack took place on May 3 in the Kremlin, the second on September 5 in Zavidovo. [Putin’s hunting palace in Tver region].’
Alksnis asked: “I wonder if these attacks on Putin’s residences will be seen as crossing red lines?”
Sochi is about 420 miles from the nearest Ukrainian-controlled territory, a long distance for a drone.
But Ukrainian groups and Russian resistance groups have launched drones from inside Putin’s country.