Russian Officials Report Ukrainian Attack on Black Sea Offshore Rigs

black sea offshore platform
File image courtesy Chernomorneftegaz

Published Jun 20, 2022 9:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

A top official in Russian-occupied Crimea has reported an attack on three Russian-controlled oil rigs in the Black Sea. The incident has not been confirmed by Ukrainian military sources.

Gov. Sergey Aksyonov, head of the Moscow-controlled government of Crimea, said in a social media post that three were injured and seven were missing after an attack on rigs operated by Chernomorneftegaz (Black Sea Oil and Gas). A small contingent of guards remain on the rigs to maintain a presence, and 94 survivors have been evacuated.

The rigs have not been conclusively identified, but state-owned Russian outlet RIA Novosti indicated that they were located off Crimea's westernmost peninsula. NASA FIRMS satellite fire-detection data appears to confirm a blaze at a location off the west coast of Crimea.

Ukrainian officials have not claimed responsibility for the attack, and the method used has not been confirmed. State Duma deputy Mikhail Sheremet, a Russian elected official from Crimea, said that it was possible that "foreign long-range missiles" were used in the strike. The UK, U.S. and Denmark have all provided Ukraine with Harpoon anti-ship missile systems and the U.S. and UK are in the process of transferring long-range rocket artillery systems. 

"The strike could have been delivered by long-range missiles, which were transferred to Ukraine as part of the supply of weapons by Western countries. Judging by the distance, this looks like a type of foreign-made missiles," Sheremet told Russian state-owned RIA Novosti. "If it turns out that these missiles were produced in one of the countries of the European Union or the United States, then all responsibility for what happened will fall on their leaders, too."

In an apparent act of retaliation, Russia's armed forces launched another wave of cruise missile strikes on Odesa, one of many attacks since the beginning of the invasion. One additional food warehouse was destroyed, according to Ukraine Operational Command South.