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Why Did Ukraine Strike Three Russian-Occupied Drilling Platforms? According to the pro-Kremlin governor of Crimea, three people were injured and seven missing after Ukrainian forces fired missiles at three oil drilling platforms off the coast of the Russian-controlled peninsula in the Black Sea.
Governor Sergey Aksyonov said that the search and rescue mission in the region “will continue” in a post shared on Telegram on Monday.
The three oil drilling platforms were run by Chernomorneftegaz.
While some pro-Ukraine social media accounts speculated that the attack may not have happened, or may have been coordinated by Russia as a “false flag” attack, the strike appears to have been confirmed by NASA’s Fire Information System for Resource Management (FIRMS).
The fire was located at 45.37588 30.93112 – the same coordinates as the “Boyko Towers” gas rigs. While the fire may have been gas flaring from the rigs, foreign policy reporter and analyst Oliver Alexander noted that there had been no other detections of this kind at that location over the last year.
Considered gas flaring from the rigs to be a possible cause of the detection by NASA FIRMS, but going back a year, there have been no other detections at this location.
It therefore seems like it would be a massive coincidence if the case.
— Oliver Alexander (@OAlexanderDK) June 20, 2022
See the Planes That May Have Performed the Strike On Boyko Towers
Video footage shared online of Ukrainian Su-27 aircraft spotted over Odesa could show the planes responsible for the attack in the Black Sea.
Reportedly these are #Ukrainian Air Force #Su27 which we’re spotted over Odessa today, which could have taken part in the attack on the oil rig #Chornomorneftegaz.#Ukraine #UkraineRussiaWar https://t.co/9MhIARoIcM pic.twitter.com/kFIkaebB3r
— News from Ukraine (@uasupport999) June 21, 2022
The footage has not been independently confirmed, but the presence of these planes in that region would likely indicate that an attack took place nearby.
The move is significant, too. Ukraine attacking the towers shows that Kyiv will not only continue fighting to reclaim its territory in the east, but hasn’t forgotten about Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. The Boyko towers were seized by Moscow in 2014 during the annexation, and Kyiv believes that they have since been used to assist with military reconnaissance.
An attack on the oil rigs in the region may cause even more instability to global oil markets, but reflect Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s goal to reclaim Crimea.
However, recent comments from the Ukrainian president could suggest that the strike was purely tactical – an effort to destroy a Russian reconnaissance post rather than a part of an effort to reclaim lost territory.
After saying earlier in the conflict that Ukraine would go on the offensive to reclaim Crimea, the nation’s leader appears to have adopted a more pragmatic approach – possibly a result of the United States’ refusal to provide long-range weaponry to help Ukraine strike Russian territory.
In May, Zelenskyy said that he doesn’t believe Ukraine will “get everything back” and ruled out “military means” to regain territories, including Crimea.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.