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Ukraine Regains Control of Strategic Black Sea Oil Rigs, Intelligence Service Says

Recapture of ‘Boyko Towers’ takes Kyiv ‘many steps closer to regaining Crimea’, GUR says

Ukrainian forces have regained control of several gas and oil offshore drilling platforms close to Crimea from Russia, Ukraine’s military intelligence (GUR) has said.

In a statement on the Telegram messaging app on Monday, the GUR said that Kyiv’s forces had retaken the drilling platforms known as the “Boyko Towers” in a “unique operation”.

It said the platforms had been occupied since 2015 by Russia, which seized and annexed Crimea in 2014, and had been used by Moscow for military purposes since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion on Ukraine in February 2022.

Russia did not immediately comment on the report. Reuters was unable to independently verify the GUR’s information.

“For Ukraine, regaining control of the Boyko Towers was of strategic importance and, as a result, Russia lost the ability to use them for military purposes,” GUR said.

“Russia has been deprived of the ability to fully control the waters of the Black Sea, and this makes Ukraine many steps closer to regaining Crimea,” it added.

During the operation, GUR said, there was a clash between Ukrainian special forces on boats and a Russian fighter jet, which was damaged and forced to retreat.

GUR also captured other “valuable trophies” such as helicopter munitions and a radar system that can track the movement of ships in the Black Sea, it said.

Before Russia seized the Crimea peninsula, Ukraine extracted a significant part of its natural gas from the Black Sea shelf, providing gas not only for Crimea but also to mainland regions of Ukraine.

The Russian defence ministry didn’t make any immediate comment on the Ukrainian claim, but in recent weeks it has claimed that Russian warplanes have destroyed several Ukrainian military speedboats in the area.

Russian military bloggers posted that the platforms had been uninhabited for more than a year and a Ukrainian operation to briefly land troops there last month wasn’t followed by a lasting military presence and came at a heavy cost for Ukraine, a claim that couldn’t be independently verified.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has vowed to do all he can to recapture Crimea and has urged international allies to support the effort.

Bridges linking the peninsula to the Russian mainland and to occupied Ukraine have come under repeated attack from air and sea drones in recent months.

Traffic on the Kerch Bridge was temporarily suspended in the early hours of Tuesday, according to its Russian-installed operator. It gave no reason for the suspension in the statement.

Source : The Guardian