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Ukraine regains control of two Black Sea drilling rigs occupied by Russia in 2014

Ukraine has retaken two strategic drilling platforms off the Crimean coast, occupied by Russia since 2014 and used for military purposes during the full-scale invasion, Ukraine’s intelligence agency says.
Ukraine’s Intelligence Directorate soldiers holding Ukrainian colors on one of the reclaimed gas drilling rigs off the Crimean coast. Photo: Telegram/DIUkraine
Ukraine regains control of two Black Sea drilling rigs occupied by Russia in 2014

On 11 September 2023, the Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR) of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry reported that Ukraine regained control of two gas and oil drilling platforms off the coast of Crimea in the Black Sea that have been under Russian occupation since 2014, which Russia has used for military purposes since the outset of the large-scale invasion.

Russia hijacked the gas drilling rigs B312 Petro Hodovanets and B319 Ukraina – locally known as “the Boyko Rigs” by the name of their owner – off the coast of Crimea in the Black Sea back in late 2014 months it invaded and occupied the Crimean peninsula.

“The unique operation to establish control over the Boyko Rigs was carried out by the Ukraine Defense Ministry’s HUR, in particular, the Petro Hodovalets and Ukraina drilling platforms, as well as the self-elevating drilling rig Tavrida and Syvash were returned [under Ukraine’s control],” the HUR reported.

According to the HUR, since 2022, Russia has been using the platforms as helicopter landing sites and for deploying radar equipment.

The intelligence agency says its special forces captured valuable trophies during their operation. In particular, a stockpile of helicopter munitions – unguided aerial rockets – and the Neva radar station, which monitors the movement of ships in the Black Sea.

During one of the operation phases, there was a battle between Ukrainian special forces on boats and a Russian Su-30 fighter jet. The HUR says the Russian aircraft was hit by the MANPAD and forced to retreat.

Earlier, it was reported that due to the sharp maneuvers of the Ukrainian vessel, which was evading the Russian aircraft’s fire, an intelligence officer with the call sign Conan fell out of the boat and into the water. The boat was forced to leave him, fleeing from enemy aircraft.  Eventually, the group found him using a UAV and rescued him after Conan spent 14 hours in the water.

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