Major twist months after Russia forcibly claimed Snake Island

·Associate News Editor
·2-min read

Ukraine has reclaimed Snake Island months after Russian troops ordered border guards to surrender from the strategic island.

The bravery of the island's occupants made global headlines at the start of the war in February after a Russian vessel was told to "go f*** yourself" after sending orders over radio.

While Ukrainian officials initially claimed 13 soldiers were killed over their refusal to back down, later reports said they were taken prisoner.

A general view of Snake Island, Ukraine, in this handout still image obtained by Reuters on June 30, 2022.  Ukraine Operational Command South/Handout via REUTERS    THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT
A photo handed out by Ukraine shows smoke billowing from the island. Source: Ukraine Operational Command South/ Reuters

The accounts from the two countries regarding the outpost's latest development vastly differ with Russia claiming they delivered an "act of goodwill", returning the island to Ukraine.

Ukraine however said it had driven the Russian forces out after an artillery and missile assault overnight.

"KABOOM!" tweeted Andriy Yermak, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's chief of staff.

"No Russian troops on the Snake Island anymore. Our Armed Forces did a great job."

A satellite image shows an overview of Snake Island, Ukraine May 12, 2022. Picture taken May 12, 2022. Satellite image 2022 Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. DO NOT OBSCURE LOGO.
A satellite image of the island from May. Source: Maxar/ Reuters

Ukraine's southern military command shared a photo on Facebook of what appeared to be the island from above with at least five large plumes of smoke.

"The enemy hurriedly evacuated the remains of the garrison with two speed boats and probably left the island," it said.

"Currently, Snake island is consumed by fire, explosions are bursting."

The rocky outcrop overlooks sea lanes to Odesa, Ukraine's main Black Sea port, where Russia is blocking food cargos from one of the world's leading grain suppliers.

However several military experts say that driving the Russians from Snake Island would not by itself be enough to unblock the ports.

And while Ukraine may celebrate the return of the island, the nation is facing difficulties in other parts of the country, as Russian President Vladimir Putin says his invasion of Ukraine is going to plan.

With Reuters

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