KYIV, Ukraine — The Ukrainian military said Monday that it recaptured strategic gas and oil drilling platforms from Russia in the Black Sea and claimed gains in occupied areas near Bakhmut, a city in eastern Ukraine left in ruins after the war's longest and deadliest fighting.
The recapture of the so-called Boyko Towers platforms provides an energy source and takes back an asset that Russia seized in 2015 and used to launch helicopters, Ukraine's Ministry of Defense said.
“Russia has been deprived of the ability to fully control the waters of the Black Sea, and this makes Ukraine many steps closer to regaining Crimea,” the Main Intelligence Directorate said.
The Russian Defense Ministry didn't make any immediate comment on the Ukrainian claim, but it has previously reported that Russian warplanes destroyed several Ukrainian speedboats in the area.
Russian military bloggers posted that the platforms had been uninhabited for more than a year and a Ukrainian operation to briefly land troops there last month wasn't followed by a lasting military presence and came at a heavy cost for Ukraine, a claim that couldn't be independently verified.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed to do all he can to bring back Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, and has urged international allies to support the effort.
Ukraine's reported battlefront gains, which could not be independently confirmed, came as…