Huge fire engulfs Russian oil refinery in suspected sabotage attack

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A massive explosion at a Russian oil and gas field raises suspicions that key facilities are being targeted by sabotage attacks linked to Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Dramatic footage of the event shows Armageddon-like flames shooting up into the sky at the Markovskoye condensate treatment facility in east Siberia’s Ust-Kut district of the Irkutsk region.

More than 1,000 square meters in the blaze are believed to have caught fire, which quickly spread due to the “jet fuel” stored at the facility.

At least seven people were injured in the blast, which came just three days after a similar blast at another oil facility in the nearby city of Angarsk, which was loud enough to be likened to an earthquake or plane crash.

In video of the latest explosion, a breathless worker at the plant can be heard saying, “Wanya, we’re f****d, the plant exploded.

“They told us to evacuate. And as we started to flee, it exploded.”

After the blast, Russian authorities rushed to release a statement saying the fire was over, although it was clearly still burning in the remote region.

Huge explosion in Russian oil and gas field Markovskoye

A huge explosion was heard at the Markovskoye oil refinery in Siberia just before it burst into flames (Image: East2West)

According to a report by the Telegram messaging app, firefighters gradually brought the fire under control and put out the remaining small outbreaks. There is no danger to other units in the field or residents, it said.

Governor Igor Kobzev did not mention the explosion heard by witnesses in his statement, claiming: “The fire was extinguished at the complex natural gas processing plant in the Markovskoye field. There is no danger to the residents.’

He wrote on Telegram: “According to the Emergencies Ministry, there were no fatalities.

“Seven people were injured. Two people in serious condition were taken to Bratsk by ambulance helicopter. Four in moderate condition were taken to Ust-Kut Municipal Hospital.’

Aside from burns, one of the injured suffered frostbite.

Mr Kobzev admitted 155 firefighters were deployed to control an inferno that some estimates said had spread to 10,700 square feet.

Burning oil and gas field Markovskoye in Eastern Siberia, Russia

Plant workers can be seen saying “We are f****d” as they fled the plant just before it exploded (Image: East2West)

Burning oil and gas field Markovskoye in Eastern Siberia, Russia

The incident is believed to be a sabotage attack aimed at damaging Russian infrastructure related to the war in Ukraine (Image: East2West)

The facility is privately owned by the Irkutsk Oil Company, one of Russia’s largest private oil companies, and is a major player in the Siberian economy.

Putin has recruited tens of thousands of his fighters from Siberia, and the Irkutsk region suffers from a high mortality rate.

The plant produces crude oil as well as condensate and natural gas and is co-owned by Russian billionaire Nikolay Buinov, 55.

The blast and initial fire began just after 11 p.m. local time on Sunday.

Officials say the fire will not spread and an investigation has been launched into the cause of the explosion and fire.

Recently, there have been explosions and fires at shopping malls and power plants, fueling fears of sabotage against Putin’s unpopular war in Ukraine, which has killed or injured more than 100,000 Russians.

Two such infernos devastated major shopping malls in Moscow this month.

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Justin Scacco

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