Crimea: Ukraine hit oil rigs

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The Ukrainian forces attacked today at oil rigs in Black Sea owned by its oil company Crimeasaid the governor of the annexed peninsula, without giving details about the weapons used.

“This morning the enemy attacked Tchernomorneftegaz drilling rigs. “I am in contact with our colleagues in the Ministry of Defense and (the Russian intelligence service) FSB, we are trying to save people,” Crimean Governor Sergei Axionov, who was appointed by Moscow after the annexation of the peninsula in 2014, told Telegram.

Crimean officials said work on three drilling rigs had been suspended after the blaze and fires broke out.

Reuters was unable to confirm the reports. The Ukrainian military declined to comment.

Axionov said that Ukraine hit the platforms at 08.00 (Greek time) when there were 109 employees on them.

“According to the first information, the most critical was the first blow respectively on the first platform. As for the other platforms, based on the first information, there are no injured or dead. “21 people have already been evacuated,” Axionov said, adding that Crimea was supplied with natural gas.

According to him, five of the 12 people on the platforms have been rescued, of whom 3 have been injured. Investigations into the others are ongoing.

Chernomorneftegaz was taken over by Russian-backed national gas operator Naftogaz in the hands of Russian-backed officials as part of the annexation of the peninsula by Moscow in 2014. The company is under US and European Union sanctions.

The platforms are off the southern coast of Ukraine in the Black Sea, 71 km from Odessa, RIA Novosti reported, citing Olga Kovitidi, a senator representing Crimea in Russia’s upper house.

Russian officials have expressed concern over statements by the Ukrainian military that they would like to target Crimea’s infrastructure – such as the Kerch Bridge connecting Crimea to Russia – as part of a Ukrainian counterattack in the south.

Tchernomorneftegaz operates a number of gas and oil fields in the Black and Azov Seas off Crimea.

This is the first blow to offshore drilling infrastructure in Crimea since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

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