Explained: The importance of Snake Island, speck of land in the Black Sea, where Ukraine has bombed Russia

Ukraine has said it inflicted “significant losses” on the Russian military in airstrikes on Zmiinyi Island, also known as Snake Island, in the Black Sea. The hit on the island is considered the second major military success with missiles given to Ukraine by the West. The Ukrainians had claimed their first successful use of Harpoon anti-ship missiles last week, British military intelligence said on June 21, Reuters reported.

Snake Island strike

The Guardian quoted from a video address by the Ukrainian Army’s Southern Operational Command: “Zmiinyi Island was dealt a concentrated blow through the use of various troops and methods of destruction… The military operation continues, requiring information silence until it is over.”

The Russians, for their part, posted on Telegram that on June 20 at 5 a.m., the “Kiev regime made another frenzied attempt to seize Snake Island”. Airstrikes were launched by 15 Ukrainian attack and reconnaissance drones, and rocket launchers and howitzers were fired at the island, The Guardian quoted Russia’s defense ministry as saying.

It said 13 drones had been shot down and that Russia called it “another fake ‘victory’ of the Ukrainian army”.

“We already know that the Pantsir anti-aircraft missile system was very badly damaged, possibly completely destroyed, we know that the radar station was very badly damaged and there are other enemy losses that we are checking to take into account,” the Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform said, quoting Natalia. Humeniuk, head of the Joint Coordination Center of the Ukrainian South Defense Forces, as follows.

“The operation is underway and I think we will follow up very soon,” Humeniuk said, according to Ukrinform.

Strategic Island

Zmiinyi Island, also known as Snake or Serpent Island, is a small piece of rock less than 700 meters from the end to the end, which has been described as “X-shaped”. It is located 35 km from the coast in the Black Sea, east of the mouth of the Danube and approximately southwest of the port city of Odessa.

Known since ancient times and marked on the map by the small village of Bile located on it, the island belongs to Ukraine. On February 24, the day Russia launched its invasion, two warships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Vasily Bykov and Moskva, attacked Snake Island, followed by Russian troops landing on it.

Ukraine has claimed to have carried out several attacks on the Russian occupiers of Snake Island, even before the latest ongoing operation. Last week, Ukraine said it had sunk a Russian naval tugboat named Spasatel Vasily Bekh, which was carrying personnel and military supplies to the island. Earlier in April, it had the Moskva . sunkthe 600-foot flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, which had attacked the island on Day 1 of the war.

The Black Sea

The famous body of water that is bordered by Ukraine to the north and northwest, Russia and Georgia to the east, Turkey to the south and Bulgaria and Romania to the west, flowing through the Bosphorus to the Sea of ​​Marmara and then to the Aegean Sea through the Dardanelles, has traditionally been Russia’s hot water gateway to Europe.

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For Russia, the Black Sea is both a stepping stone to the Mediterranean and a strategic buffer between NATO and itself. Domination of the Black Sea region is a geostrategic imperative for Moscow, both to project Russian power in the Mediterranean and to secure the economic gateway to key markets in southern Europe.

Russia has been making efforts to gain full control of the Black Sea since the 2014 Crimean crisis. Black Sea domination has been a major Russian goal of the ongoing war, along with the land bridge connecting Russia and Crimea. Cutting off Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea will reduce it to a landlocked country and deal a crippling blow to its trade logistics.

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