Ukraine strikes Black Sea oil platform used as Russian military installation
- Rig attack was the first such strike in Crimea since the start of the invasion
- Russia says it repelled an attack on Ukraine’s Snake Island in the Black Sea
Ukraine has admitted striking an oil drilling platform in the Black Sea, saying on Tuesday it was being used by Russian troops as a military installation.
The attack, which took place on Monday, was the first such strike against offshore energy infrastructure in Crimea since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
It targeted a rig with four towers some 70km (44 miles) off the Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula, which Ukraine said was being used as a military installation.
“On those towers, Russia had organised small garrisons and stored equipment for air defence, radar warfare and reconnaissance,” Sergiy Bratchuk of Odesa’s regional military administration told an online briefing.
“They were being turned into fortification points that were helping the Russians achieve full control of the northwestern part of the Black Sea,” he said, his remarks quoted by Interfax Ukraine.
Sergey Aksyonov, head of Russian-annexed Crimea, had on Monday accused Ukraine of firing on a Black Sea oil drilling platform off the peninsula, leaving three people injured and another seven missing.
Russian Senator for Crimea Olga Kovitidi later said two other platforms had also been hit. At least one strike was confirmed by Bratchuk, who said such platforms were “legal military targets” for Ukraine.
“This is a small garrison. This is not just a platform for extracting gas,” he said in a video posted on his Telegram channel.
Meanwhile, Russia’s defence ministry said its forces had repelled a “mad” attempt by Kyiv’s forces to retake Snake Island, a symbolic Black Sea territory taken by Moscow at the start of its Ukraine offensive.
“On June 20 at 5am, the Kyiv regime undertook another mad attempt to take possession of Snake Island,” the defence ministry said in a briefing.
Ukraine’s forces had “planned to carry out massive air and artillery fire... before landing and capturing” the island, it added.
The ministry said 15 Ukrainian attack and reconnaissance drones took part in the air strike while missile launchers and howitzers fired at the island.
Russian air defence systems intercepted all the projectiles and shot down 13 drones, “forcing the enemy to abandon the landing on Snake Island”, the ministry added.
It also said that Russian radars had detected a US RQ-4 “Global Hawk” reconnaissance drone in the area.
The claims could not be independently verified.
The ministry said the failed attempt to retake the island led to the attack on oil rigs off the coast of Russia-annexed Crimea.