Putin dealt huge blow as massive fire breaks out at key Black Sea port

Firefighters tackle huge blaze at Novorossiysk fuel oil terminal

A key Russian fuel oil terminal has been destroyed in a massive fire, local media has reported.

The huge blaze is consuming a large area of the Novorossiysk fuel oil terminal, located in one of the largest ports on the Black Sea – some 172 kilometres away from Russian-occupied Crimea.

The terminal has a capacity of 119,000 cubic metres and a throughput of five million tons a year, making it Russia’s main oil export hub in the region.

It is also the main route allowing the transit of the majority of the Kazakh oil to the rest of the world’s markets.

Moreover, the area is of huge importance to Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, as the Russian Black Sea Fleet has relocated most of its units to Novorossiysk after Kyiv became a threat to the Sevastopol base.

READ MORE: Putin targeting schoolchildren in occupied territories with propaganda

Olenegorsk Gornyak, the Russian landing ship put out of action by a seaborne Ukrainian drone in early August, was hit in the waters off Novorossiysk.

The local Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) said the incident was sparked by wooden pallets catching fire, Russian news agency TASS reported.

EMERCOM also said more than 40 firefighters and 14 units of equipment were attending the scene to quell the fire.

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The government agency added the flames covered 1,300 square meters.

A video, also shared by EMERCOM, shows firefighters working to tame the massive blaze while a thick black smoke rises from the ground.

Smoke could be seen from different parts of the city, Russian news outlet SHOT said.

It isn’t clear what caused the fire, and Russia hasn’t yet attributed it to a drone attack by Ukraine.

News of the blaze came as tensions in the Black Sea region have reached new highs following Putin’s decision not to renew the Black Sea Grain Deal and Russia’s threats to civilian ships heading to and from Ukrainian ports.

The fire also comes the day after the governor of the Russian Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine’s Kharkiv, claimed Kyiv forces had attacked the area.

Vyacheslav Gladkov alleged to have had 16 artillery shells and 67 mortar shells fired across the region on Thursday.

But Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for any of the attacks on Belgorod, often stressing it is fighting its war in Ukraine and not in the Russian territory.

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