(Update 1: Adds detail, re-ledes, alters headline)
By María Traspaderne
Odesa, Ukraine, Apr 3 (EFE).- The Russian military destroyed two Ukrainian oil refineries in 24 hours, including one in the Black Sea port city of Odesa, which has so far remained relatively unscathed since the invasion began.
The first missile strike hit the Kremenchuk refinery in central Ukraine late last night, the regional military administrator Dmytro Lunin said in a statement on social media, adding that the complex had been “destroyed” and that several people suffered burns although no deaths were reported.
Russia’s defense ministry said it had used long-range, high-precision missiles against the refinery, which it claimed was being used as a military base.
Online news site Ukrainskaya Pravda said the Kremenchuk plant was the largest in Ukraine with the capacity of 18.6 million tons of crude oil.
The following morning Russia bombed a second refinery in Odesa, which is linked to an oil pipe connected to Russia via Kremenchuk.
In its Telegram account, the Odesa’s city council said “Odesa was attacked from the air,” that “some missiles were shot down by air defense” and that “fires have been reported in some areas.”
Local military authorities added that there were no deaths reported at the scene of the attack.
Six loud explosions could be heard during the attack on the Odesa refinery and Efe witnessed four large columns of acrid smoke rising above the site.
A woman who was only identified as Tatiana and lives in an apartment in a two-story building about 50 meters from the facility entrance, told Efe she heard six explosions, four of them in the refinery area and two more a little further away.
She said her brother worked at the facility until it stopped operations in 2014, but that there are always security personnel there day and night.
“We heard a noise and jumped out of bed,” she said.
Another neighbor by the name of Sergei said he felt the attacks as “an earthquake” from his house, located on a hill several hundred meters from the infrastructure.
Anti-aircraft alarms sounded Sunday in Odesa on three occasions, one of them coinciding with the attack.
Russia’s defense ministry acknowledged the attack on the Odesa refinery, again claiming that it had served as a military base for Ukrainian soldiers fighting Russian forces in the nearby city of Mykolaiv, although provided no evidence of this. EFE