(Kyiv) Ukraine said Monday that it had recaptured from the Russians an oil and gas platform in the Black Sea controlled by Moscow since 2015, against a backdrop of a counter-offensive by Kyiv’s forces and renewed tensions in the waters off Ukrainian ports .
“Ukraine is regaining control of the “Vishki Boika”,” the military intelligence of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said in a press release.
During this “unique operation”, undated, “fighting took place between Ukrainian special forces on board boats and a Russian Su-30 fighter plane”, he added, asserting that “the Russian aircraft was damaged and had to retreat”.
Ukrainian units “succeeded in seizing valuable trophies: a stock of helicopter ammunition […] as well as the “Neva” radar, which makes it possible to track the movements of ships in the Black Sea”.
In a ten-minute video released by Ukrainian military intelligence, elite units can be seen approaching the oil and gas platform aboard small, fast ships, before accessing the site and brandishing the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag.
According to the same source, Russia “occupied (the platform complex) since 2015 and, with the start of the large-scale invasion, used it for military purposes, in particular as a helicopter landing site and for the deployment of radar equipment”.
In June 2022, Moscow accused Kyiv of having fired on this complex of offshore drilling platforms off the coast of Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.
The local Russian occupation authorities then reported three wounded and seven missing.
Attacks between Ukrainian and Russian forces have increased in the Black Sea since mid-July, when Russia slammed the door on a grain agreement allowing the export of Ukrainian grain for a year despite the war.
Limited advances on the southern front and in the east
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry on Monday claimed “successes” on the southern front, where its army has made slight progress in recent weeks, and in the east near Bakhmut.
Ukrainian forces “continue their offensive operations in the south” and “have recorded successes south of Robotyné (locality recaptured from the Russians at the end of August) and west of Verbové”, declared on public television the deputy minister of Defense, Ganna Maliar.
It is in this area of the Zaporizhia region that Kyiv says it has “pierced the first line of defense” of Russia, thus opening the way for its offensive towards the towns of Tokmak and Melitopol, important for the logistics of the Russian army.
In the Bakhmout region (east), “progress has been made” also and the Ukrainian army “has achieved some successes in the area of Klichtchiïvka and Andriïvka”, specified the vice-minister in her weekly update.
“Over the past week, about 2 km2 of territory were liberated” near Bakhmout, and “a total of 49 km2 have been liberated” on the flanks of the city since the start of the Ukrainian counter-offensive in June, according to Mme Maliar.
The Ukrainian army also “took part of Opytne”, a village near the town of Avdiivka, another hot spot on the front, she added.
The Ukrainian counter-offensive launched in June came up against powerful defense lines built by the Russians, including minefields and anti-tank traps, but Kyiv hopes for a breakthrough in the south in the Robotyne sector.