‘This is Ukraine!’ The national flag is raised on Snake Island, officials say, in a symbol of Kyiv’s defiance of Moscow.

Source: www.nytimes.com : 2022-07-07 10:57:24 : Matthew Mpoke Bigg

Ukraine has raised its blue and yellow national flag over Snake Island, the authorities said on Thursday, signaling the reconquest of a scrap of land in the Black Sea that has become a symbol of the country’s resistance to Russia’s invasion.

Even so, it is not clear whether Kyiv can station troops on the island, given its vulnerability to missile strikes. Russia launched two airstrikes at the island overnight and “significantly damaged” a pier, according to a post from Ukraine’s southern command on the Telegram messaging platform.

Snake Island, which is 20 miles off the coast of Odesa, became famous in February when, at the start of the war, a broadcast of radio traffic showed lightly armed Ukrainian troops on the island defying an order by a Russian warship to surrender.

Russian troops then took over the island, but withdrew late last month after repeated assaults by Ukrainian forces, a move that could make it harder for Moscow to control vital shipping lanes for grain in the Black Sea. The Ukrainian authorities also hailed the withdrawal as a sign that weapons delivered by Western countries could help turn the tide in the war.

“Bear in mind, ‘Russian warship’ Zmiinyi Island — this is Ukraine!” said text inscribed on the flag, and signed by Makysm Marchenko, the head of the regional military administration in the southern province of Odesa. Zmiinyi is Ukrainian for “snake.”

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