Russia has announced it is leaving Snake Island just days after Ukraine launched a major rocket attack on the outpost.
The 100-acre hunk of land is a favourable strategic position, sitting some 80 miles off Ukraine’s southern coastline in the Black Sea.
Russia seized the island early in the war and had largely managed to maintain control of it despite intermittent attacks from Ukraine’s armed forces.
But Ukraine last week launched a major offensive, destroying a series of Russian supply stations and anti-aircraft systems with a brutal barrage of rockets.
The withdrawal represents a major loss for Putin’s forces.
The head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, Andriy Yermak, published a jubilant message upon learning the news this morning.
‘KABOOM! No Russian troops on the Snake Island anymore. Our Armed Forces did a great job,’ Yermak wrote on Twitter, sharing a photo of smoke rising from the island following yet another attack last night.
Russia’s defence ministry confirmed its forces had withdrawn from the strategic outpost, but painted the retreat as a ‘gesture of goodwill’ and evidence that Russia is not interfering with the export of vital grain from Ukraine amid an escalating global food crisis.
‘As a gesture of goodwill, the Russian military completed their tasks on [Snake] Island and withdrew the garrison stationed there,’ defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov announced.
‘It has been demonstrated to the world community that Russia is not interfering with the UN’s efforts to organise a humanitarian corridor to export agricultural produce from Ukraine.
‘Our decision will not allow Kyiv to speculate on the impending food crisis as regards their inability to export grain due to Russia’s control of the northwestern part of the Black Sea.’
Head of Zelensky’s office Andriy Yermak this morning shared a photo of smoke rising from the island following yet another attack last night
Aerial shots of Snake Island show the aftermath of a Ukrainian strike on a Russian Pantsir-S1 missile defence system
Russia has announced it is leaving Snake Island just days after Ukraine launched a major rocket attack on the outpost (pictured here before the war)
The 100-acre hunk of land is a favourable strategic position, sitting some 80 miles off Ukraine’s southern coastline in the Black Sea. Russia seized the island early in the war and had largely managed to maintain control of it despite intermittent attacks from Ukraine’s armed forces
Ukraine last week pounded the Russian garrison stationed on Snake Island – the second attack in as many weeks – and dealt considerable damage to Putin’s defences there.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence said Ukrainian troops had destroyed a Russian Pantsir anti-aircraft system, a radar station and several military vehicles in a series of strikes on the island on June 20 and the early hours of June 21.
The attack came less than a week after Ukraine’s southern operational command aimed strikes on the island, with satellite images showing the major losses to Kremlin troops.
‘Another strike of the Ukrainian Army on the Russian troops on Snake Island,’ Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence said.
‘The occupiers lost an anti-aircraft system Pantsir. The cleaning of our land will continue as long as needed.’
Ukraine pounded the Russian garrison on the strategic Snake Island again on June 20 and 21, just days after dealing a ‘significant’ blow to Vladimir Putin’s Black Sea forces with an attack on the crucial outpost
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence said Ukrainian troops had destroyed a Russian Pantsir anti-aircraft system in the strike
Snake Island is seen in an aerial photo on June 17 before Ukraine carried out a series of strikes on the strategic outpost
By June 20, Ukraine had caused serious damage, with satellite imagery showing devastated regions
Unofficial claims say Kyiv forces used US-supplied HIMARS missiles, although this was not confirmed.
Ukrainian military spokeswoman Natalia Humeniuk said: ‘We continue a [military] operation on Snake Island.
‘Last night more than 10 accurate strikes were launched on the island.
‘We are checking the results now, but we have already been informed that one more Pantsir-S1 air defence missile gun system was hit.’
In February, Ukrainian border guard Roman Hrybov on Snake Island famously radioed ‘Russian warship, go f*** yourself’ to Russian officers aboard the Moskva vessel.
Hrybov and his crew were thought dead after the Moskva bombarded the island with artillery fire, but they miraculously survived and were given awards upon being returned to Ukrainian soil in a prisoner transfer some weeks ago.