Russian forces 'hurriedly evacuated' infamous Snake Island, says Ukrainian military

Source: www.foxnews.com : 2022-06-30 12:25:09 : Caitlin McFall

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Russian forces have hastily withdrawn from the infamous Snake Island in the Black Sea in a strategic victory for Kyiv, Ukrainian military officials said Thursday.

Ukraine’s Operational Command “South” took to Facebook to announce that following a coordinated overnight missile strike “the opponent hurriedly evacuated the remains of the garrison.”

The command posted a picture that showed the island covered in fire, black smoke and the aftermath of heavy missile fire.

A general view of Snake Island, Ukraine, in this handout still image obtained by Reuters on June 30, 2022. 

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)

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“KABOOM!” Andriy Yermak, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s chief of staff tweeted. “No Russian troops on the Snake Island anymore. Our Armed Forces did a great job.”

Fox News could not immediately verify the reason for Russia’s withdrawal from the hugely contested island located just off the coast of Odessa.

But Russian forces claimed they abandoned the strategic outpost in a “gesture of goodwill” as the UN looks to secure shipping corridors amid increasing concerns over global food shortages.

“This decision will not let Kyiv indulge in insinuations over an impending food crisis or argue it is impossible to export grain due to Russia’s total control of the northwestern part of the Black Sea,” spokesman for Russia’s defense ministry Igor Konashenkov said, first reported Russian news outlets. 

A satellite image shows an overview of Snake Island, Ukraine, June 21, 2022. 

A satellite image shows an overview of Snake Island, Ukraine, June 21, 2022. 
(Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS )

Though it remains unclear if this move will allow Ukraine to export its food sources as mines and Russia’s naval force maintain a presence in the Black Sea.

Snake Island gained notoriety in the first days of the war after Ukrainian soldiers infamously refused an ultimatum to surrender or face death.

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A Ukrainian guard responded over the radio and said, “Russian Warship, go f— yourself.”  

All 13 Ukrainian servicemen were originally thought to have been killed after contact with the soldiers had been lost.

It was later revealed they had been taken as prisoners of war. 

Russia has faced several challenges in the Black Sea and its forces have been unable to sweep Ukraine’s southern coastline due to an effective Ukrainian naval blockade. 

Moscow has blamed Ukraine’s blockade for the rising food shortage and has called on it to remove its naval forces from the Black Sea.

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Ukraine has flatly rejected these calls and has demanded Russia remove its aggressive posture off its coastline. 

Russia has said its military goals in Ukraine are to gain “full control” over eastern and southern Ukraine – a move that would block all Black Sea access for Kyiv. 

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