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Russia withdraws from the strategic Snake Island in the Black Sea

The Army of Russia has withdrawn this Thursday of a strategic Ukrainian island in the Black Seaknown as Zmiinyi or snake islandwhich it had occupied at the beginning of the war that began against Ukraine more than four months ago, the Ministry of Defense reported.

“On June 30, as measure of goodwillthe Armed Forces of the Russian Federation completed their assigned tasks on Zmiiyiy Island and withdrew the garrison stationed there,” military spokesman Igor Konashenkov announced.

Moscow explains the withdrawal with its willingness to “demonstrate to the international community that Russia does not interfere in UN efforts to organize a humanitarian corridor for the export of agricultural products from the territory of Ukraine”.

“This decision will not allow kyiv to speculate on the issue of an impending food crisis, referring to the impossibility of exporting grain due to Russia’s total control over the northwestern part of the Black Sea,” Konashenkov said.

Russia considers that now “the ball is in Ukraine’s court, which has not yet cleared the Black Sea coast, including the waters near the port” of Odessa, the only one that remains under its control.

The Ukrainian island was taken at the beginning of the conflict

The rocky island, located in the Black Sea, about 45 kilometers from the Ukrainian and Romanian coasts, was taken by Russia at the beginning of the war in Ukraine.

Zmiinyi gained worldwide fame when a Ukrainian border guard, Roman Gribov, who was captured with twelve companions by the Russians on the small island, rhe answered with his middle finger raised to the demand for the surrender of the commanders of the former flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the “Moskva”, sunk in April by Ukraine.

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The island has a great strategic valuebecause whoever controls it has control of the sea, land and air in the northwestern part of the Black Sea and southern Ukraine, with the important port city of Odessa within artillery range.

With a length of 662 meters and a width of 440 meters, it housed Russian air defense complexes, three units of rocket artillery systems, a group of boats and special forces units, according to the Department of Military Intelligence of Ukraine (GUR). .

It served to provide cover for Russian aviation and the Black Sea Fleet, among other strategic advantages.

kyiv was struggling to regain the strategic enclave

For all this, kyiv wanted to recover it. The head of the GUR, Major General Kyrylo Budanov, recently assured that the counter-attacks will continue until Zmiinyi is liberated.

Ukrainian forces recently claimed to have destroyed and sunk another Russian ship, the “Vasili Bej” tug, when it was trying to transport weapons and reinforcement troops to the island.

Also, last week they carried out two counter-attacks against the Russian garrison on the island and they hit a pair of Pantsir-C1 anti-aircraft missile and gun complexes, a radar station and military vehicles.

According to UK intelligence at the time, “Ukraine’s coastal defense has largely neutralized Russia’s ability to establish control of the sea and project a maritime force in the northwestern Black Sea.”

“This has undermined the viability of Russia’s original operational design for the invasion, which involved keeping the Odessa region at risk from the sea,” he said.