Ukraine said on Monday it had retaken from the Russians an oil and gas platform in the Black Sea controlled by Moscow since 2015, against the backdrop of a counter-offensive by Kiev’s forces and renewed tensions in the waters off Ukrainian ports.
Decisive Ukrainian victory: Ukraine regains control of the Vichki Boïka in the Black Sea
“Ukraine regains control of the Vichki Boïka,” the military intelligence of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
During this “unique operation”, which was not dated, “fighting took place between Ukrainian special forces aboard boats and a Russian Su-30 fighter plane”, he added, claiming that “the Russian plane was damaged and had to retreat”. The Ukrainian units “succeeded in seizing precious trophies: a stock of ammunition for helicopters (…) as well as the Neva radar, which tracks the movements of ships in the Black Sea”.
In a ten-minute video released by Ukrainian military intelligence, elite units can be seen approaching the oil and gas platform in small fast boats, before entering the site and waving the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag. According to the same source, Russia “had occupied (the platform complex) since 2015 and, with the start of the full-scale invasion, used it for military purposes, in particular as a helicopter landing site and for the deployment of radar equipment”.
In June 2022, Moscow had accused Kiev of firing on this offshore drilling rig complex off Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014. The local Russian-occupied authorities reported three injured and seven missing. Attacks between Ukrainian and Russian forces have increased in the Black Sea since mid-July, when Russia slammed the door on a grain agreement that had allowed Ukrainian grain exports for a year despite the war.
Why does it matter?
The takeover of the Black Sea oil and gas platform by Ukraine marks a significant development in the context of ongoing tensions between the two countries. This action has potential implications for energy exchanges and regional security. It also reflects the persistence of conflicts in the Black Sea, which may have repercussions on global financial and energy markets.