Ukrainian fighters regained control of oil and gas drilling platforms off the coast of Crimea in inflatable boats, a commander said. The platforms, known as the Boyko Towers, have been controlled by the Russians since soon after the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
On Monday, Ukraine’s defense intelligence released a video of the operation to take the platforms back.
The commander of the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine’s Special Forces, who is codenamed “Pein,” spoke about the operation in an interview with Ukrainian journalists from 1+1 TV channel.
“The special operation was being prepared for about a month and a half. We realized that it could be a one-way trip, because only a fool and a dead man are not afraid. We went on an inflatable boat because it is more maneuverable and less visible to air support means,” Pein said.
During the operation, a group of Ukrainian intelligence officers encountered a Russian combat aircraft and shot it down with a man-portable air defense system, Pein said.
“When we started to dock, the plane started to fire at our fighters. The boat was slightly damaged. One such shell could have sunk us. There was one shot, it hit the tail section. We saw a peculiar smoke — first white, then black,” the intelligence officer recalled.
He added that on the drilling platforms, the Ukrainian special forces found Russian ammunition and valuable equipment for reconnaissance in the western part of the Black Sea.
Pein said the return of the towers to Ukrainian control was a painful blow the Russians.
“We have severely restricted the Russians’ actions in the Black Sea, namely in the waters of Zmiinyi (Snake) Island. We pushed them back to the shores of Crimea,” he said.