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Military intelligence: Ukraine directly controls Black Sea oil rigs, undermining Russia's reconnaissance capabilities

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 8, 2024 4:08 PM 2 min read
A still from a video Ukraine's military intelligence produced about the operation to regain control of the 'Boyko Towers' oil drilling platforms, published online on Sept. 11, 2023. (Ukraine's Military Intelligence / Facebook)
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Russia's reconnaissance capabilities in the sky, on the water, and on land suffered after Ukraine regained control of a set of oil drilling platforms located in the Black Sea last autumn, Ukraine's military intelligence said on April 8.

Kyiv announced that it had regained control over the platforms, informally known in Ukraine as the Boyko Towers after pro-Russian politician Yurii Boyko, as well as two mobile rigs in September 2023.

The drilling platforms were procured by Ukraine when Boyko served as the energy minister between 2010 and 2012 under then-President Viktor Yanukovych. Russia occupied the rigs following the 2014 illegal annexation of Crimea.

After the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russian forces turned the platforms into a military site, deploying equipment like radar and helipads, according to military intelligence.

Ukraine's Navy spokesperson, Dmytro Pletenchuk, said in the autumn of 2023 that the Boyko Towers were under Ukraine's "fire control" but remained in the "gray zone" due to the activity of Russian military aircraft in the sector.

During the operation to take control of the platforms, Ukrainian forces reportedly dismantled the radar system. The Russian Navy was then unable to effectively monitor the situation in the surrounding area of the Black Sea, according to Pletenchuk.

"Today, the towers are used directly," Yusov said in the program on the national television aired on April 5, without unveiling the details.

Russia's "zone of influence" was narrowed and the capabilities of the Ukrainian military to conduct further operations in the Black Sea, including occupied Crimea, have expanded, Yusov added.

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