- Ukrainian missiles struck three Russian gas rigs in the Black Sea, according to reports.
- Ukraine claimed that Russia was using the gas platform as a military installation.
- The strikes expose Russia’s vulnerabilities in the Black Sea following a series of successful attacks from Ukraine.
Ukraine has launched missile strikes against three Russian gas rigs in the Black Sea.
Seven people were missing and three injured after one of the attacks, according to a Telegram post from Sergey Aksyonov, the governor of Russian-controlled Crimea.
A Ukrainian official confirmed one of the attacks, claiming on Tuesday that Russian troops were using the platform as a military installation, The Moscow Times reported.
“On those towers, Russia had organized small garrisons and stored equipment for air defense, radar warfare, and reconnaissance,” Sergiy Bratchuk of Odesa’s regional military administration told an online briefing, according to Deutsche Welle.
“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 in remarks quoted by Interfax Ukraine.
The three gas drilling platforms targeted by Ukraine, known as the Boyko towers, are owned by Crimean oil and gas company Chernomorneftegaz, which was seized by Russian-backed officials during its annexation of the peninsula in 2014, per Reuters.
Chernomorneftegaz has been sanctioned by the United States and the European Union since 2014.
Military expert Oleg Zhdanov said that the towers were like the “ears and eyes of the Russian Black Sea Fleet,” according to Offshore Energy.
The strikes expose Russia’s vulnerabilities in the Black Sea after a series of successful attacks from Ukraine, including destroying a Russian tugboat near Snake Island and the sinking of the Moskva warship.
Russian forces had placed radio-jamming equipment at the gas rig, blocking Ukraine from getting a complete picture of the area, Andriy Zagorodnyuk, a former Ukrainian defense minister, told the New York Times.
He added that the Ukrainian strikes could indicate that Ukraine has received naval weapons from Western allies.
Russian authorities said that the attack had caused a major fire, which appeared to be still raging two days later, as seen on a NASA satellite that monitors forest fires.
In apparent retaliation, Russia struck parts of Odesa with missiles, according to The Telegraph. Ukraine said that a food warehouse was destroyed, but no civilians were killed.
The intensified conflict in the Black Sea comes amid Russia’s ongoing naval blockade, which has disrupted global wheat exports and had wide-ranging knock-on effects on the world’s food supply.