Russian troops withdraw from Snake Island

The Russian Ministry of Defense announced the withdrawal of troops from the Zmeiny Island in the Black Sea, located near Odessa. The Ukrainian armed forces carried out several unsuccessful attempts to land on the island, and then repeatedly stated that they had carried out strikes on the island, destroying the equipment located there.

In its statement, the Russian army claims that the decision to withdraw troops was made “as a step of good will.” Similar language was used by the Russian military when they talked about the retreat from the northern parts of Ukraine (Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions), after the start of negotiations in Istanbul.

“Thus, it has been demonstrated to the world community that the Russian Federation does not interfere with the efforts of the UN to organize a humanitarian corridor for the export of agricultural products from the territory of Ukraine,” the Russian Ministry of Defense says about the withdrawal of troops from Zmeinoye. “This decision will not allow Kyiv to speculate on the topic of an impending food crisis, referring to the impossibility of exporting grain due to Russia’s total control of the northwestern part of the Black Sea.”

Western countries and Ukraine believe that Russia continues to blockade Ukrainian ports and thus prevents the export of Ukrainian food to world markets. Russia rejects these statements, pointing out that Ukraine itself has mined the approaches to the ports and the controlled part of the coast.

The Ukrainian operational command “South” stated that it had carried out a military operation with rocket and artillery strikes on Zmeiny Island, where parts of the Russian army were located. As a result, the Russian military “hurriedly evacuated the remnants of the garrison by two speedboats and probably left the island,” the command said.

Andriy Yermak, head of the office of the President of Ukraine, also said that “there are no more Russians on Zmeiny.” Now there is a fire on the island and explosions are heard, the operational command “South” specified.

Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zaluzhny published a video of Ukrainian military strikes on Zmeiny, after which Russian troops were forced to leave the island. He noted the important role of Bogdan’s self-propelled guns in his release.

Yermak also commented on the Russian statement about the “goodwill gesture.” “All this is a complete fake. Firstly, the Armed Forces of Ukraine drove the Russians out of Zmeiny Island. Secondly, the Russians are shelling warehouses with our grain,” he said, Russia continues to provoke a food crisis and lie. They continue to block our ports and destroy grain. They need a global Holodomor.”

During the war for Zmeiny Island, fighting began several times, but its liberation was not a priority for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In May, after the Russian Defense Ministry announced an unsuccessful attempt by the Ukrainian military to retake the island, and the Ukrainian department that there was no such attempt, Aleksey Arestovich, an adviser to the head of the office of the President of Ukraine, said that it was much easier for Ukraine to continue hitting Russian targets on Zmein.

So, on June 26, another attack of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was repulsed. The Pantsir-S anti-aircraft missile and gun system shot down a Ukrainian Su-25 aircraft, as well as 12 rockets. Konashenkov then noted that there were no casualties among the personal garrison and the destruction of objects.

Prior to that, on June 20, Ukrainian armed formations intended to capture Zmeiny. At that time, 15 drones took part in the attack. In addition, strikes were launched on the island from the continent, including ballistic missiles “Tochka-U”. But as a result of retaliatory strikes, Ukraine lost 13 drones, as well as artillery weapons and launchers of air defense systems.

In response, the Russian side hit the hangars with Turkish Bayraktars at the Shkolny military airfield with Onyxes. In addition, the RF Armed Forces destroyed two artillery platoons of 155-millimeter M-777 howitzers on Kubansky Island and two launchers of the S-300 air defense system in the Odessa region.

According to Justin Bronk, an expert at the Royal United Defense Research Institute (RUSI), Russian forces left the island, probably due to the appearance of new long-range artillery in the Ukrainians. The Armed Forces of Ukraine compared the island with Chernobaevka, where Ukrainian strikes over and over again covered the incoming Russian forces.

“It has always been difficult for Russia to hold this island. Ukraine has recently carried out several technically innovative and impressive attacks – both with the help of missile systems and, sometimes, with the help of aircraft. The Russian air defense systems and other systems stationed on the island were systematically destroyed. The Russians constantly brought to the island new systems, which were hit on the way to the island. I think this is the result of Russia’s recognition of the fact that Ukraine now has a significant amount of long-range artillery, “says the expert.

Pavel Aksenov, BBC

Snake Island is a very small piece of land in the Black Sea, 35 kilometers from the Ukrainian coast. Although it is located quite far from Odessa and Nikolaev (140 and 230 km, respectively), its military value, as a platform for placing air defense systems on it, is great for Russia.

If a battery of medium-range air defense systems could be placed on Zmeiny, then it could cover the landing operation of the Russian Navy near Odessa, which is feared in Ukraine.

The disadvantage of Zmeiny is that it is really a very small island, on which there are practically no natural shelters, and the proximity of the coast allows it to be fired from self-propelled howitzers and multiple launch rocket systems, against which air defense is not very effective. It is very difficult to hide from fire on it, and the small area forces you to place equipment and the garrison crowded. At the same time, it is located quite far from the naval and air bases of the Black Sea Fleet.

The support of the garrison by naval aviation and ships puts them in a vulnerable position, since any activity at sea or in the air is controlled by Ukraine with the support of Western intelligence assets, and the Armed Forces of Ukraine are armed with anti-aircraft and anti-ship systems.

To successfully hold Serpentine, a real large-scale sea and air operation would have to be launched. Nevertheless, Russia did not stop trying to capture and hold the island, which only led to new losses. The fact that they decided to leave him alone as a result is quite logical.

It is difficult to say whether Ukraine will try to take control of the island – after all, its relief and size will be exactly the same problem for the Armed Forces of Ukraine as they were for the Russian army.

But to everything else, Snake Island is a symbol. obscene meme

On February 24, the Russian military invaded the territory of Ukraine and established control over the island of Serpents. An audio recording of how a Russian warship offered to surrender to Ukrainian soldiers was circulated on social networks, and they obscenely refused him.

After that, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that as a result of a missile and artillery strike by a Russian warship on the island, 13 Ukrainian border guards were killed. However, later it turned out that the Ukrainian military, who served on the Zmeiny Island, were alive and were in Russian captivity. Subsequently, they were exchanged for captured Russians. The cruiser “Moskva”, which participated in the operation to capture Zmeinoy, was hit by a missile attack on April 13 and sank the next day.

The obscene phrase that the border guards responded to the Russian ship became a meme, and Ukrposhta even put into circulation a postage stamp dedicated to this event.

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