A MASSIVE explosion rocked an oil depot just 18 miles from Putin’s palace on the Black Sea today.
Shocking footage showed huge flames and thick black smoke pouring into the air from the giant fuel tank in the Russian resort of Sochi.
It’s understood the city was targeted for the first time by Ukrainian kamikaze drones.
Locals said there was an explosion like a “clap of thunder” before the 5am inferno at the diesel tank.
Thick black smoke wafted over the city – but officials said the fire hadn’t affected the busy Sochi airport.
Krasnodar regional governor Veniamin Kondratyev said more than 60 firefighters were on scene battling the blaze.
“The reasons for the incident are being clarified,” he said.
The tank reportedly contained 1,200 tonnes of diesel.
Viktor Alksnis, a politician known as the Black Colonel, suggestedwas targeting Putin’s official residence, Bocharov Ruchey.
It’s where the Kremlin leader met Belarus ally Alexander Lukashenko at the weekend.
And Putin, 70, routinely runs his government from Sochi – especially in themonths.
It’s also the base of his lover Alina Kabaeva, 40, who presides over an elite gymnastics academy in the resort.
“It seems that the favourite vacation spot of the President of the Russian Federation, the Bocharov Ruchey residence near Sochi, will become inaccessible for security reasons,” Alksnis said.
“Ukraine is conducting a real hunt for Putin.
“If indeed in this case it was an attack by a Ukrainian drone, then the Bocharov Ruchey residence is already the third attempt to attack the official residences of the president with a UAV.
“The first attack was on May 3 on the Kremlin, the second on September 5 at Zavidovo.”
He added: “I wonder if these attacks on Putin’s residences will be regarded as crossing red lines?”
Sochi is 420 miles from the nearest Ukrainian-controlled territory – a long distance for a drone.
But Ukrainian fighters have previously unleashed drones from inside.