Ukraine has struck three Russian drilling rigs in the northwestern Black Sea, a Russian official said on Monday.
The Russian state news agency Tass reported that the leader of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, said the strikes had hit natural gas rigs belonging to Chernomorneftegaz, the breakaway Crimean arm of Ukraine’s national gas company. He later said that gas supplies were not affected by the strike.
“So far, gas is being supplied as usual,” Mr. Aksyonov told Rossiya-24 TV channel, according to Tass. “There are no risks whatsoever to Crimea’s gas supply.”
It was not clear what weapons Ukraine would have used to hit the rigs, which were more than 40 miles from Ukrainian-controlled shores, but it has demonstrated before that it can strike targets even farther at sea. In April, Ukrainian missiles sank the Russian cruiser Moskva about 65 miles offshore.
There was no immediate confirmation of the strikes from Ukraine’s military. The head of Odesa’s regional military, however, called the platform a valid military target, noting that it had been “stolen” by the Russians in 2014.
“Karma, what a thing,” he wrote on Telegram.
There were 109 employees on the rigs, Mr. Aksyonov was quoted as saying. He said that 21 had been evacuated and that the search for the rest continued.
Russia’s seizure of Crimea in 2014 gave it not just the Crimean landmass but also a maritime zone more than three times its size, with the rights to underwater resources potentially worth trillions of dollars — namely vast oil and gas reserves.