Ukraine to ‘hoist’ flag on Snake Island following Russian withdrawal on Thursday

Russians abandoned Snake Island says Michael Clarke

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Natalia Humeniuk, a spokeswoman for Ukraine’s southern military command, initially suggested the national flag had been raised on Snake Island. However, Ms Humeniuk has since revealed Ukraine will wait until troops arrive before raising the flag.

She said: “The flag was delivered to the island by helicopter.

“It will wait for the arrival of the troops and will then be hoisted”

Ms Humeniuk then explained her remarks should have been “understood metaphorically”.

She said: “No one landed on the island. So who will install it, stick it in, raise it?

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“And no one will risk people for the sake of a photo for the media.”

Some analysts hope the Kremlin’s withdrawal from Snake Island could help loosen Russia’s blockade on ports in the ex-Soviet state.

However, a Kyiv-based foreign diplomat has told Reuters that the move will still not help alleviate all of the pressure.

They said: “There is a requirement for demining, and Russia still has capabilities (military vessels, coastal defence systems and air superiority) that will allow them to interdict shipping lanes.”

Accounts from Russia and Ukraine also differ as to why troops left the Black Sea outpost.

Moscow claimed on Thursday it was a “gesture of goodwill”.

However, Kyiv suggested it had driven out Kremlin troops after an artillery and missile assault.

According to a recent intelligence update by the Ministry of Defence, Russian “vulnerability” prompted the troops to leave.

The MoD said: “On June 30 2022, the Russian Ministry of Defence announced that its forces had withdrawn from Snake Island in the north-west Black Sea.

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“The island was seized by Russia on the first day of the invasion and sits along the main shipping lanes to Odesa and its adjacent ports.

“The Ukrainian Armed Forces conducted attacks against the Russian garrison in the past few weeks using missile and drone strikes.

“In addition, it used anti-ship missiles to interdict Russian naval vessels attempting to re-supply the island.”

They added: “Russia has highly likely withdrawn from Snake Island owing to the isolation of the garrison and its increasing vulnerability to Ukrainian strikes, rather than as a ‘gesture of good will’, as it has claimed.”

Despite Vladimir Putin’s troops withdrawing from Snake Island, the MoD has since suggested Russia continues to “exacerbate the global food crisis” by disrupting Ukraine’s agricultural sector from the Black Sea.

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