Ukraine on Monday said it had retaken strategically significant offshore drilling platforms.
The platforms had been occupied by Russia since 2015 and utilized in the war.
Ukraine shared a video of Ukrainian special forces on boats near the platforms battling a Russian fighter jet.
Ukrainian special forces in three small boats fought off a Russian Su-30 fighter jet, damaging it and ultimately forcing it to flee, Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, the HUR, said Monday in a release accompanied by a video of the fight.
The dramatic footage showed Ukrainian soldiers crowded together in the small boats, firing their service weapons at the sky while the enemy multirole fighter repeatedly passed by overhead and fired at them.
The Ukrainians eventually struck the Russian jet with a man-portable air defense system, or MANPADS, according to a translated version of the HUR video with English subtitles.
MANPADS are surface-to-air missiles that can be carried by a single operator and fired by either an individual or crew. The US and other countries have provided Ukraine with various short-range air defenses like this to counter the threat posed by Russian aircraft.
After taking damage, the fighter jet fled from the battle, Ukraine’s HUR said. In the video, the apparent hit prompted cheers from the Ukrainian soldiers on the boats. One soldier in the video said he hit the Su-30 and it began smoking.
Ukraine’s military intelligence said the showdown with the Russian jet was part of an operation to take back offshore oil and gas drilling platforms near Crimea.
Ukraine said Monday they had successfully taken back the platforms, which Russia took control of in 2015 after its illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. They said Russia had used the platforms for military operations since invading Ukraine in February 2022.
Russian forces had been using the platforms as floating military bases where they could land helicopters or deploy troops, according to The New York Times.
“For Ukraine, regaining control of the Boiko Towers was of strategic importance and, as a result, Russia lost the ability to use them for military purposes,” Ukraine’s military intelligence said in a Telegram video, according to Reuters.
Russia did not immediately address Ukraine’s claim it had taken back the platforms. Insider could not independently verify the claim or the video accompanying them.
The battle between the boats and the fighter jet was part of a 13-minute video released by Ukraine’s military intelligence agency that showed additional aspects of the operation.
It’s unclear when exactly the operation occurred, but it may have been referred to in a UK Defence Intelligence update on August 27 that said “tensions remain high in the Black Sea” as “skirmishes have taken place between maritime and air forces” around the strategically important platforms.
UK intel added that the week prior to that update a Russian combat jet shot at a small Ukrainian military boat operating near a platform.
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