Russia has announced it is leaving Snake Island just days after Ukraine launched a major rocket attack on the outpost.
The 100-acre chunk of land is a favorable strategic position, sitting some 100 kilometers 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 barrage of rockets.
No Russian troops on the Snake Island anymore. Our Armed Forces did a great job.
More kaboom news to follow. All will be 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/ItdP3oQvHK
— Andriy Yermak (@AndriyYermak) June 30, 2022
The withdrawal represents a major loss for Vladimit Putin’s forces.
The head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, Andriy Yermak, published a jubilant message on learning the news.
‘KABOOM! No Russian troops on the Snake Island anymore. Our Armed Forces did a great job,’ he wrote on Twitter.
Russia’s defence ministry confirmed its forces had withdrawn from the strategic outpost. However,it claimed the retreat was 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,’ the defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.
‘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.