UK intelligence reveals Russia, Ukraine engaged in conflict over Black Sea oil and gas platforms
The UK Defence Ministry observes that there are ongoing clashes between the naval and air forces of both countries in the region between Crimea and Odesa
This is stated in the report on Twitter.
“As tensions remain high in the Black Sea, skirmishes have taken place between maritime and air forces around strategically important gas and oil platforms between Crimea and Odesa,” the report says.
Last week, a Russian military aircraft fired at a Ukrainian military small boat near the platforms, which are located off the northwestern coast of the sea. The platforms are operated by the Chernomorneftegaz company, which was seized by the pro-Russian occupation authorities in Crimea during the 2014 annexation.
Since Russia's full-scale invasion in 2022, Ukraine has struck several Russian-controlled platforms. Both Russia and Ukraine have also periodically occupied them with troops.
“The platforms command valuable hydrocarbon resources. However, like Snake Island to the west, they can also be used as forward deployment bases, helicopter landing sites, and to position long-range missile systems,” as highlighted by British intelligence.
These are offshore gas drilling platforms near Crimea in the Black Sea. Russia captured them in 2014, using them not only for gas production but also for radio reconnaissance. These platforms had caused controversy earlier due to concerns about violating Ukrainian laws and misusing state funds. The former Ukrainian Energy Minister, Yuriy Boyko, faced allegations related to their purchase during the Yanukovych era, resulting in a criminal case.
In the summer of 2022, according to Crimea’s leader Aksyonov, Ukrainian Armed Forces targeted the oil platforms, which were seized by Russia.
The Russian occupiers had transformed these platforms into military installations, housing air defense systems and garrisons, according to Serhiy Bratchuk from the Odesa regional military administration.