Budanov: Ukraine regains control of Northern Black Sea and targets Russian forces in Crimea

Ukraine's operation to liberate Crimea and its territorial waters in the Black Sea is gaining momentum, according to Ukraine's military intelligence chief Budanov.

During successful multi-faceted operations, Ukraine has managed to take back control of the northern Black Sea and has weakened the Russian forces in Crimea. The Russian fleet is fleeing the peninsula, General-Lieutenant Kirill Budanov of Ukraine's military intelligence service (GUR MO) told French newspaper Le Monde.

"The northern Black Sea is under Ukrainian control, as are the gas extraction platforms," Budanov said. By platforms, he referred to the so-called "Boyko towers" captured by the Russians in 2014 during the occupation of Crimea. Russia not only pumped gas there but also used the platforms for military purposes, positioning radar systems on them.

In 2023, Ukrainian intelligence forces successfully landed on the towers, destroying Russian military equipment and rendering it unusable.

Budanov also noted that as part of an operation to weaken Russia's military presence in Crimea, sea export routes in the Black Sea have been unblocked. These routes are still operating under restrictions due to Russian aggression.

"We regularly attack their military fleet and port infrastructure, which has forced the Russians to hastily redeploy everything to the southeast," the general lieutenant remarked. He pointed out that Russia is attempting to create a new naval base in Ochamchire (Abkhazia), on Georgian territory it occupies.

Simultaneously, Budanov mentioned that landings by the Ukrainian Forces began in occupied Crimea in 2023.

"Some thought it impossible. Yet, it has provided hope, especially for Ukrainians on the peninsula who have lived under Russian occupation for a decade, with many starting to lose heart," said the head of the Ukrainian Defense Intelligence.

  War in Ukraine, Budanov, Crimea