Ukrainian soldiers aboard an inflatable boat, in a video shared on September 11, 2023, by Ukraine’s military intelligence agency.
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Ukraine said on Monday it had recaptured several offshore drilling rigs in the Black Sea.
The two-day raid, dubbed “Battle for the Sea,” was part of a special forces operation.
The platforms were occupied by Russia since 2015 and used for military purposes, according to Ukraine.
Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, the HUR, released a video of Ukrainian special forces units retaking control of the Boyko Rigs, offshore gas platforms off Crimea’s coast, in a daring two-day raid.
The 13-minute-long edited video, released on Monday, shows special forces regaining control of the Petro Godovanets and Ukraina drilling rigs, as well as the self-elevating Tavrida and Syvash drilling platforms.
In the undated video, a group of six soldiers can be seen aboard an inflatable boat, speeding across the Black Sea, and reaching one of the platforms.
Despite what a soldier described as a “stormy” sea, the soldiers managed to reach one of the platforms and proceeded to inspect it, dismantling Russian reconnaissance equipment, per the video.
“On the drilling platforms, the Russians set up warehouses with ammunition and fuel for helicopters,” the video says, according to a BBC translation.
But as they returned to the platforms a few days later, Ukrainian troops in small boats battled against a Russian Su-30 fighter jet, damaging it with a man-portable air defense system and eventually forcing it to retreat, according to the HUR.
Russia had held the four platforms since 2015, shortly after it annexed Crimea, per the HUR, which said it used them as helicopter landing sites, and for the deployment of radar equipment.
The video of the operation, dubbed “Battle for the Sea”, shows one soldier describing it as a “secret operation,” according to a translation provided by Ukraine’s defense ministry.
Another unidentified soldier featured in the video said they discovered Russia was storing unguided aviation missiles and a fuel tank, using the platform to refuel and replenish their ammunition, it said.
It’s unclear exactly when the operation took place. However, a UK intelligence briefing from August 27 said tensions remain high in the Black Sea and that “skirmishes have taken place between maritime and air forces around strategically important gas and oil platforms between Crimea and Odesa.”
The intelligence brief also mentioned a Russian combat fighter firing at a small military boat that was operating close to a platform, which it said had happened the week before.