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21 June, 12:16 PM

Moscow might target Kyiv with missiles in response to Ukraine’s attack on Black Sea gas rigs

Russia may again attempt try to attack the downtown area of Kyiv with missiles in the next few days, advisor to the Presidential Chief of Staff Oleksiy Arestovich said on June 20.

He said the Russians are looking for ways to respond to a Ukrainian attack on gas drilling rigs in the Black Sea near the cost of Crimea – a Ukrainian maritime territory that has been controlled by the Russian Federation since 2014.

These rigs are also known as the “Boyko rigs” for the history of their procurement by Naftogaz, a Ukrainian state-owned energy company.

Arestovich said residents of Shevchenko and Pechersk districts should be especially careful in the coming days, and go to a bomb shelter each time air sirens announce a risk of Russian attack from the air.

In the morning of June 20 the Ukrainian Armed Forces used rockets to target drilling platforms in the Black Sea – which used to be owned by Ukraine’s Naftogaz prior to 2014, but were captured by the Russian occupation administration of Crimea.

The Black Sea is considered a rich area for for oil and gas extraction. However, most recent projects focused on development of sea’s energy base have been unsuccessful for regulatory reasons.

The story of how the “Boyko rigs” came to operate in the Black Sea is complex and full of scandal.

Chornomornaftogaz, a Crimean subsidiary of Naftogaz, procured two modern drilling rigs from Keppel, a company in Singapore. The rigs were given Ukrainian names – one was named “Petro Godovanets”, another one – “Nezalezhnist.”

Later investigations by local journalists revealed the procurement price was heavily inflated: Naftogaz paid twice as much for the rigs as their actual cost.

The deal to procure the drilling rigs was led by Yuriy Boyko, who was then Ukraine’s energy minister, and two Naftogaz executives – Evgen Bakulin and Sergiy Katsuba.

Boyko’s surname was later associated with these rigs by the general public, with the public often calling them simply the “Boyko rigs.”

After invading Crimea in 2014, Russia took over the “Boyko rigs” and put them to its own use, extracting hydrocarbons from the Black Sea.

This was done through a special marine operation back in March, 2014. Ukraine’s military response to 2014 events in Crimea was meagre and Russian army was able to carry out its invasion plan in full.

Later, Russia used “Boyko rigs” not only for extracting gas, but also for intelligence activity – keeping an eye on activities in the Black Sea.

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