Ukraine gains control of crucial gas drilling platforms in the Black Sea

Ukraine’s military has successfully retaken control of four gas drilling platforms in the northern Black Sea, a strategic move that challenges Russia’s control over the region. The black sea has been a hotbed of conflict between Ukraine and Russia since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. The operation, which occurred last month, was caught on video and released by Ukraine’s military intelligence, offering a rare glimpse into the ongoing battle for control of this crucial region.

The video shows Ukrainian special forces in rigid inflatable boats speeding across the Black Sea towards the gas drilling platforms known as Boyko Towers. These platforms were seized by Russia in 2015, shortly after the annexation of Crimea. The Ukrainian forces are seen clambering onto the platforms and removing Russian military equipment, including vital radar equipment that expanded Russia’s vision in the Black Sea.

One of the most dramatic moments in the video is when Ukrainian troops defend themselves against a Russian Su-30 fighter jet. The troops launch a shoulder-held anti-aircraft missile, causing the jet to retreat. However, there are no clear indications of any further combat, although a spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence stated that Russian troops on one of the platforms were killed.

The operation is a significant victory for Ukraine, as it challenges Russia’s control over the northern Black Sea. These platforms are valuable not only for their hydrocarbon resources but also for their strategic importance as forward deployment bases, helicopter landing sites, and potential locations for long-range missile systems. By gaining control of these platforms, Ukraine has not only regained valuable resources but also diminished Russia’s ability to monitor the region.

It is important to note that Ukraine’s account of the operation cannot be independently verified. However, the British Ministry of Defence tweeted about “skirmishes” around the gas platforms on August 27, potentially referencing the operation. Despite the lack of verification, the operation marks a significant step forward for Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia.

The retaking of the Boyko Towers and the control of the gas drilling platforms are part of Ukraine’s larger goal of reclaiming the Crimean Peninsula. By challenging Russia’s control over the northern Black Sea, Ukraine aims to weaken Moscow’s grip on the region and bring Crimea closer to being returned.

However, the operation also raises concerns about escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia. As Ukraine proactively launches raids and asserts control over the region, Russia may respond with increased aggression. This could lead to further military confrontations and an escalation of the conflict. Both sides need to exercise caution and explore diplomatic solutions to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.

The retaking of the drilling platforms in the Black Sea has significant implications for Ukraine, Russia, and the region as a whole. It represents a major victory for Ukraine and a challenge to Russia’s control. The strategic importance of the platforms, both in terms of resources and military positioning, makes their control crucial for both sides. However, the operation also raises concerns about escalating tensions and the potential for further conflict.