Ukraine’s MoD chief explains significance of “Boyko towers” for Russia

25 June 2022, 12:52 PM

Russians are using gas drilling rigs in the Black Sea (colloquially called "Boyko towers") to protect their ships from Ukraine’s anti-ship Neptune missile system, Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov said in an interview with ICTV on June 24.

Reznikov stated that with the help of these facilities, appropriated in 2014, Russia has not only stolen gas from Ukraine but also set up electronic warfare stations there.

“The Russians used them as protection for their ships, hiding behind them so that our magical Neptune could not target them with its guidance systems,” Reznikov explained.

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“It so happened that someone smoked inauspiciously on those towers, and now they are not used for the purpose intended by the Russians.”

The “smoked” comment was in reference to a fire that broke out on the rigs on June 20, as a result of a suspected Ukrainian military strike that same day, reported by Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Honcharenko and the so-called "head" of Crimea, Kremlin puppet Sergei Aksonov. Ukraine’s military command did not officially confirm this information.

In response to a request to confirm a Ukrainian strike on the platforms, Reznikov said: "Everyone sees it — space [satellite images] — searched and saw the towers, they are burning. They have been struck, what is there to confirm?”

Russian media agency TASS, citing the so-called "senator" from Crimea, reported on June 21 that the fire at the "Boyko towers" still could not be extinguished as it had approached the gas well.

Earlier, a spokesperson for the Odesa regional administration, Serhiy Bratchuk, stated that the Russian invaders were using the "Boyko towers" as military bases to block the port of Odesa and control the Black Sea.

In 2011-2012, Chornomornaftogaz, a state-owned Ukrainian gas company,  bought two fifth-generation drilling rigs (Petro Hodovanets and Nezalezhnist, manufactured in Singapore by Keppel), paying more than twice their real value. The agreement was handled by the then head of the Ministry of Energy Yuriy Boyko (hence "Boyko towers") and his managers at Naftogaz of Ukraine, Yevhen Bakulin and Serhiy Katsuba. After the occupation of Crimea, Russia captured these facilities.

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