The Russian Army has announced that it has withdrawn from Snake Island or the Zmiinyi Island, a tactical position in the Black Sea captured by Moscow and which has been under Ukrainian bombardment in recent weeks.
On June 30, “as a sign of goodwill”, the Russian armed forces accomplished the objectives set on Snake Island and withdrew its garrison there, the Russian Defense Ministry said, saying that this gesture should facilitate grain exports from Ukraine.
Russia “does not interfere with the efforts of the UN to organize a humanitarian corridor for the export of agricultural products” from Ukraine, said the Russian Ministry of Defense.
“This solution will prevent Kyiv from speculating on an impending grocery crisis (wheat exports, Ed.) citing the inability to export grain due to total control of the northwestern part of the Black Sea by Russia. Now it is up to the Ukrainian side that is still not clearing the Black Sea coastline (from sea mines, Ed.), including the harbour waters, added the Russian Defense Ministry.
Ukraine claims victory over the liberation of the island
The Ukrainian Army hailed “the liberation of a strategic territory” after the Russian announcement in the morning of the withdrawal of Moscow’s forces from the symbolic Snake Island in the Black Sea, occupied since the first days of the Russian special operations in Ukraine. “I thank the defenders of the Odesa region who have done their utmost to liberate a strategically important territory”, said the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, Valeriï Zaloujniï, on Telegram messenger.
Just a couple of days ago, the Ukrainian media said that President Zelensky gave two weeks to the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to capture the Snake Island with a landing.
After deploying the French self-propelled guns CAESAR and the OTR-21 Tochka-U Missile to the Odessa region, the intensity of Ukranian artillery fire from the Odessa region increased several times.
Russian losses near Snake Island
Russia has lost billions worth of ships, which have sunk near the island, starting with the cruiser Moskva and ending with the newest rescue tug Vasily Bekh. When removing the garrison, Russia wrote that the remaining equipment was destroyed.
Kyiv, too finds Snake Island difficult to maintain
“Snake” is a small island in the Black Sea, located on the border of Romania and Ukraine.
The island belongs to the Izmail district of the Odessa region. But it was not always so. For many years, “Snake” passed from hand to hand. It belonged to the Republic of Ingushetia, the Turks, and the Romanians. The issue was finally resolved after the Second World War, and “Snake” became part of the USSR. After the break up of the USSR, the island was handed over to Ukraine. Snake Island is the gate to either Odesa or Sevastopol. Historians also believe that the shield of the mythological Achilles is hidden on the island, giving power over the world.
The coastal zone, including the island, is rich in minerals, oil and gas, but Kyiv was unable to develop them. Both Ukraine and Russia found it hard to maintain a presence on the island as it is covered with steppes grass without a tree, and supplies to the island are very difficult and costly.
Immediate future of the island
Russia and Ukraine will try to leave the island alone and make it impossible for it to function as a troop landing, enemy air defense and anti-ship missile base.