A RUSSIAN sea spy platform has been destroyed by Ukrainian special operations forces near the coast of annexed Crimea.
Ukraine’s Defence Ministry said Russia was using the mining platform and “important” equipment to control part of the Black Sea.
The Black Sea, located in the Atlantic Ocean, is bordered by Russia, Ukraine and Georgia, along with Nato nations Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania – and Putin has long considered it essential for projectingand influence in the Mediterranean and beyond.
But Ukrainian forces have carried out a number of successful operations in the area since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, disabling a third of Putin’s Black Sea fleet.
Ukraine’sthis week declared on its official X page: “Another successful operation by Ukrainian SOF operators in the Black Sea near the coast of the temporarily occupied Crimea.
“As a result of Operation ‘Citadel’, important enemy equipment was captured, and a mast with an antenna was blown up.
Read more on the Black Sea
“The enemy used the equipment to control part of the Black Sea and adjust fire at the south of Ukraine. Glory to Ukrainian warriors!”
Ukrainian special operations forces (SSO) of the Armed Forces laid bare the details of the night-time Operational Citadel in a video also shared to X.
Footage showed troops onboard the mining platform, which Russia had captured and was using for drone attacks, special forces said.
The camera followed the SSO operators in the dawn hours as they conducted a search for “important equipment”, including a radar and an unmanned aerial vehicle signal enhancing system.
As they travelled away from the platform by boat, a bright explosion could be seen in the background.
According to Ukrainian intelligence, Russia was using the drilling platform for its Iranian-made Mohajer-6 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), designed for reconnaissance and attack.
The combat UAV can carry four guided missiles and has a range of up to 200km over 12 hours.
A Neva-B surface object detection radar station was also reportedly installed by Russians on the platform, capable of tracking up to 200 targets simultaneously, both on land and at sea.
It can detect even the smallest of targets: a person up to 2km away, a car or boat at 15km, and a truck or a large boat up to 30km away.
Ukrainian special operations forces explained: “The enemy installed it [the equipment] to control part of the Black Sea and adjust fire in the south of Ukraine.
“SOF group conducted special ops, swept the place and mined the. Having captured enemy’s equipment, the group successfully retreated.
“The special operation was completed by blowing up the mast with the antenna.”
On their Telegram channel, they revealed how their 73rd SSO Marine Centre group – a highly secretive unit which has been compared with the US Navy Seals – began “destroying enemy facilities”.
They said: “The special operation was carried out in the zone of constant patrolling by the Russian aviation and navy.
“At night, the boats of the 73rd Marine Center of the SSO came close to the mining platform. After carrying out special actions and cleaning, the object was demined.
“The combat group withdrew to a safe distance and blew up the enemy target. As a result, important enemy equipment was captured and a mast with an antenna was blown up.”
The SSO claimed that the successfully-conducted special operation allowed for safer movement of ships and limited Russia’s capabilities in the northwestern part of the Black Sea.
It comes after Ukraine’s Armed Forces commander-in-chief this week revealed that Ukraine’s military had “disabled” 24 Russian ships and one submarine.
Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is understood to have had a total of 74 combat ships when Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine, meaning Ukraine has disabled a third of the Russian Navy’s fleet in the past two years.