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The recapture, by Ukrainian forces, of the oil and gas platforms off the coast of Crimea known as the “Boyko towers” has both strategic and symbolic significance. Their position, between the westerly-most point of Crimea and Snake Island, in waters close to Ukraine's border with Romania, puts them in a key location for monitoring Russian activities in the Black Sea.
Russia had seized control of these drilling platforms in 2015, in the wake of its annexation of Crimea the previous year. It used them for military purposes including installing radar equipment that gave them surveillance of the sea between Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula.
Announcing the recapture of the platforms, which reportedly took place at the end of August, Ukraine's intelligence service, the GUR, stated that: “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.”
Though the Bokyo towers are oil and gas platforms, they contain helipads and have the potential to host missile systems. They also provide underwater and surface reconnaissance and monitoring. Control of the platforms greatly enhances Ukraine's ability to operate in the Black Sea, while at the same time reducing Russian capabilities.
Ukraine's ground counteroffensive…