Ukraine Strikes Jackup Rig in the Black Sea for a Second Time
Ukrainian forces struck a Russian-operated drilling rig off the coast of Crimea for a second time over the weekend, according to Russian state media.
The jackup drilling rig Tavrida was hit by a Ukrainian missile, leaving a 15-foot hole in the helipad, according to TASS. No injuries were reported in this strike, unlike the previous round of attacks, a spokesperson for Crimea's emergency services department said.
Tavrida is reportedly one of the three rigs targeted in an earlier Ukrainian missile strike on June 20. Three people were injured in the first attack and seven remain missing. Satellite imaging appears to indicate that one of the targets (not Tavrida) is still on fire after five days.
An interesting new hotspot was visible overnight (via NASA VIIRS imagery) near the flaming Russian-occupied gas platform off the coast of #Crimea.— The Intel Crab (@IntelCrab) June 27, 2022
Notice the cluster of white pixels a few hundred meters south of the main cluster. pic.twitter.com/lxWWchvL22
Given the long distance from Ukrainian-held territory to the rig, many observers have suggested that the strikes were carried out using Western-supplied anti-ship missiles. The UK, U.S. and Denmark have all provided Ukraine with Harpoon anti-ship missile systems, which have already seen confirmed use against one Russian Navy vessel in the conflict.
Analysts suggest that the attacks could be part of a broader campaign to lift the Russian blockade on the Ukrainian port of Odesa. Ukrainian military sources have accused Russia of installing military surveillance and electronic-warfare equipment on the platforms, to include long-range radar observation systems; destroying these installations could help reduce Russian sea control in the northwestern Black Sea.
Tavrida is a jackup rig built in 1995 by Ukraine's JSC Kherson shipyard. It was appropriated by Russia during the annexation of Crimea in 2014, along with the other assets of its operating company, Chernomorneftegaz.