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Navy: Ukraine's control of Black Sea oil rigs a serious 'security issue' for Russia

by Elsa Court September 12, 2023 2:38 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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Ukrainian control over a set of gas and oil drilling platforms in the Black Sea has serious consequences for Russia's ability to maneuver in the area, the Ukrainian Navy told Suspilne on Sept. 12.

The loss of control over the platforms "is a security issue" for Russia, according to Dmytro Pletenchuk, the spokesperson for the Ukrainian Navy.

Ukraine's Military Intelligence announced on Sept. 11 that Ukraine had regained control over the platforms, informally known to Ukrainians as the Boyko Towers, named after pro-Russian politician Yuriy Boyko, as well as two mobile rigs.

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

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

During the operation to control the platforms, Ukrainian forces dismantled the radar system.  

The Russian Navy is therefore now unable to effectively monitor the situation in the surrounding area of the Black Sea, Pletenchuk said.  

Russian forces "will not be able to react in time or plan something" in Ukrainian territorial waters, Pletenchuk explained, adding that this was "great importance" for the security of the sea around Odesa.

Ukraine will be able to better defend its coast, but full control over its waters will only come when Ukraine has air superiority, according to Pletenchuk. He said he hopes this will be solved by the delivery of weapons like F-16 jets.

WSJ: Kyiv expects to use F-16 fighter jets in combat by winter
The Ukrainian military’s top brass expect to use U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets in combat as early as this winter, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Sept. 10. According to Kyiv’s military leadership, this optimistic schedule could give Ukrainian troops a significant new advantage on the battlef…
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