Ukraine says its special forces blew up a Black Sea mining platform in the night to throw off Russian drone operations


  • Ukraine said on Tuesday that its special forces raided a Russian mining platform in the Black Sea.

  • The facility was used to support Moscow’s drone operations and control the area, Kyiv said.

  • Ukrainian troops stole Russian equipment and mined the platform during the nighttime raid.

Ukrainian special forces raided and then blew up a mining platform in the Black Sea that Russia was using to support its drone operations, Kyiv said on Tuesday.

Russia had previously seized the mining platform, located near the coast of the occupied Crimean peninsula, and installed equipment to increase the scale of its Iranian-made drone capabilities, Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces said in a statement shared to the messaging app Telegram, citing unspecified intelligence.

It added that Moscow had also placed a radar on the platform to monitor ships in the Black Sea and better control the region.

Ukraine said that during the nighttime raid, which was captured on video and shared to social media, its forces stormed the platform after sailing out to it in fast boats, skirting both Russian aircraft and navy patrols. Ukrainian troops searched the facility, mined it, and left with equipment they found there.

Then, they blew up the platform’s mast and antenna.

It was not immediately clear when the operation, dubbed “Citadel,” took place. Ukraine hailed it on Tuesday as a success and said it will ensure safer movement of ships in the Black Sea and limit Russia’s capabilities there.

Ukrainian special forces have staged numerous assaults targeting Russian-held assets in the Black Sea and around Crimea.

In August, for instance, Kyiv’s forces carried out an amphibious raid into a small village at the westernmost point of Crimea, where they battled Russian troops and planted a Ukrainian flag — it was a fairly symbolic moment for the country as it’s people observed Independence Day.

The following month, Ukraine released footage of its forces retaking control of gas drilling platforms situated off the coast of Crimea, which were seized by Russia in 2015 following its illegal annexation of the peninsula the previous year.

Ukrainian soldiers are seen on a boat during a 'special operation' by Ukrainian forces at a location given as near Olenivka and Mayak settlements, Crimea, in this screengrab obtained from a handout video released on August 24, 2023.Ukrainian soldiers are seen on a boat during a 'special operation' by Ukrainian forces at a location given as near Olenivka and Mayak settlements, Crimea, in this screengrab obtained from a handout video released on August 24, 2023.

Ukrainian soldiers are seen on a boat during a “special operation” in Crimea, in this screengrab obtained from a handout video released on Aug. 24, 2023.Ukrainian Main Directorate of Intelligence/Handout via REUTERS

The Black Sea has emerged as an important battle space in the nearly two-year-long war, one beyond the sprawling front lines stretching across eastern and southern Ukraine.

Ukraine doesn’t have much of a navy, but it’s relied on a formidable arsenal of exploding drone boats and long-range cruise missiles from the West to wreak havoc on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and hammer key positions throughout Crimea over the past few months.

Just last week, Ukraine said its forces used the home-made naval drones to sink a Russian warship, the Ivanovets, which was stationed in northwestern Crimea. Kyiv has carried out attacks like this on multiple occasions.

Ukraine’s defense ministry said Tuesday that it has destroyed or damaged 24 Russian ships and one submarine since the war began in February 2022, amounting to a third of the warships that make up the Black Sea Fleet.

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