Ukraine: Black Sea oil platforms seized by Russia recaptured

Ukraine says its forces have captured gas and oil drilling platforms off the coast of Crimea in the Black Sea, reclaiming a strategic surveillance site from Russian forces years after Moscow first seized them from Ukraine.

Videos of the raid on the oil and gas platforms, known as Bokyo Towers, circulated on the internet Monday.

Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence agency shared images and documentary footage of Ukrainian soldiers hoisting flags up on the platforms. Ukrainian soldiers battled against at least one Russian fighter jet and damaged it, according to Ukraine, which released video footage of the operation.

Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs, said Russia has used the oil and gas platforms for monitoring and surveillance since 2015, shortly after the illegal Russian annexation of Crimea.

Gerashchenko said the return of the platforms to Ukrainian control were of “great value” to Kyiv.

“The Defense Intelligence of Ukraine deprived the Russians of many monitoring and intelligence capabilities by knocking them out of these towers,” he wrote on X. “This step was crucial not only in Ukraine’s struggle for the Black Sea but also for more space for its coastal and air operations.”

Russian sources are disputing claims that Moscow lost Bokyo Towers in the raid.

Military blogger Rybar called the reporting from Ukraine “another PR campaign that has no practical benefit,” claiming in a Telegram post that Ukrainian forces had “left the structures for fear of being destroyed by Russian aviation fire” after a brief raid.

The oil and gas platforms are named for Yuriy Boyko, a pro-Russian politician and former head of Ukraine’s Ministry of Energy.

Boyko helped purchase the oil rigs in 2011, a case that drew scrutiny after reports showed it was a corrupt scheme involving inflating prices to siphon money from state coffers.

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