Russia withdraws troops and weapons from Snake island, calls it a 'goodwill gesture'
Ukraine struck Zmiinyi Island (Snake Island) in the Black Sea at night causing Russia to evacuate the remaining military and probably to completely leave the island, reported the Ukrainian Operational Command South.
"During the night, as a result of another successful military operation including strikes by our missile and artillery units on Snake Island, the enemy hastily evacuated the remaining part of the garrison by two high-speed boats and probably completely left the island. Snake Island is currently engulfed in fire, explosions are heard."
The Russian Defense Ministry said that the Russian Armed Forces completed "their tasks on Zmiinyi island" the garrison located there was withdrawn “as a gesture of goodwill".
"Thus, the world community was shown that the Russian Federation does not interfere with the efforts of the UN to organize a humanitarian corridor for the export of agricultural products from the territory of Ukraine. This decision will prevent Kyiv from speculating on the topic of the impending food crisis, referring to the impossibility of exporting grain due to Russia's total control of the northwestern part of the Black Sea. Now it is up to the Ukrainian side, which still does not clear of mines the Black Sea coast near its shores, including near the ports."
A few days before this "goodwill step", Russia recognized the importance of maintaining control over Snake Island as a strategically important location. Thus, the State Duma deputy and former commander of the 58th Army, ex-deputy commander of the troops of the Southern Military District Andrei Gurulev published an article entitled "On the heroism of our soldiers during the defense of Snake Island ". In it, he told how Russian soldiers deliver equipment to the island and repel the attacks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. "We need control over this island. It is a strategically important object. So, let's thank our heroes from the bottom of our hearts," he concluded in the article.
Also, on June 22, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Defense Yuri Shvytkin in an interview with Lenta.ru provided the reasons why the island is important. According to him, Snake Island is the main strategic object in the Black Sea. "Firstly, it is located about 35 kilometers from the coast of the Odesa region and a little more than 100 kilometers from Odesa. Secondly, not a single ship, here we are talking about Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and so on, will not pass by Snake Island. This sea route is under the control of those forces that are located on the island, " the deputy claimed. Director of the Center for Military-Political Problems Alexei Podberezkin in a comment to RIA Novosti also recognized the strategic importance of the island for control over the Black Sea coast of Ukraine and the potential Russian attack on the Odesa region.