Ukraine’s Armed Forces flew the country’s flag over Cobra Island after forcing a Russian withdrawal from strategically important territory, a spokeswoman for the military’s Southern Command, 1st Captain Natalia Humeniuk, said at a briefing on Monday. fair (4).
Known as Zmiinyi Ostriv in Ukrainian, Snake Island is about 48 km off the coast of Ukraine and is close to the shipping lanes that lead to the Bosphorus and the Mediterranean.
Russian troops have left Cobra Island in the Black Sea, Ukraine’s Armed Forces said last week, after carrying out what it said was a “successful” operation.
The small but strategic territory was the scene of one of the initial salvos of the war in Ukraine, with demands from a Russian warship urging the Ukrainian defenders to surrender, to which they boldly responded with “Russian warship, fuck you.” r”.
“The Ukrainian flag was installed on the island. The operation was completed, the island was returned to Ukraine’s jurisdiction,” Humeniuk said, without providing further details.
Understand the importance of small Cobra Island in the Ukrainian war
It’s just 186,000 square meters of rock and grass with no fresh water (and no snakes too), but Cobra Island in the Black Sea has taken on significant significance in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
The island – known as Zmiinyi Ostriv in Ukrainian – is about 48 kilometers off the coast of Ukraine and close to shipping lanes that lead to the Bosphorus and the Mediterranean.
Moscow has never claimed Serpent Island, and it is a long way from any part of the Russian mainland. It is more than 280 kilometers from Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014. In no geographical or historical sense could the Russians claim it as their own.
Still, it has strategic value and the Russians clearly thought it would be an easy target. Even before the conflict, Ukraine knew it was vulnerable. Last year, President Volodymyr Zelensky flew to the place, where there are no voters, to emphasize that she matters. “This island, like the rest of our territory, is Ukrainian land, and we will defend it with all our forces,” he said.
The Russians went to Cobra Island on the first day of the war, in late February, when an iconic moment occurred between the Ukrainian defenders and the Russian navy. Ordered to surrender, the small detachment of sailors on the island radioed back: “Russian warship, fuck you,” an exchange that has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance.
In addition to the symbolic value
If Russia takes control of the region, Ukraine would no longer be able to guarantee the freedom of shipping routes between the port of Odessa and the rest of the world – and it is through this city that much of Ukrainian agricultural production travels to markets. global.
Ukraine’s defense intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said on Friday that whoever owns Cobra Island controls “the surface and, to a certain extent, the air situation in southern Ukraine.”
“Whoever controls the island can block the movement of civilian vessels in all directions south of Ukraine at any time,” added Budanov. For that reason alone, the country has promised that even if it cannot immediately retake the territory, it will deny it to the Russians.
In a series of attacks in the last 10 days, drones and other artifacts attacked Russian units trying to consolidate their presence on the island.
Satellite images from May 12 show a landing ship submerged near the island’s only pier. Ukraine says it also hit two patrol boats nearby.
Over the weekend, other images showed two plumes of smoke rising from the island. One is believed to have been from a Mi-8 helicopter that was bringing in Russian Marines. He was reportedly targeted by a missile, according to a drone video released by the Ukrainian military, which also posted footage of anti-aircraft installations on the island being attacked.
The Odessa Regional Military Administration said on Thursday that a Russian support ship, the ‘Vsevolod Bobrov’, was on fire and being towed to Sevastopol. The claim remains unverified by the CNN and Russia denied any losses on the island.
So why are the Russians trying so hard to keep Snake Island? Because it has the potential to be an “unsinkable aircraft carrier”, albeit a static one, packed with electronic warfare and anti-ship capabilities.
On Thursday, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said the Russians were trying to “improve their position on the island in an effort to block Ukrainian maritime communications and capabilities in the northwest Black Sea, particularly towards Odessa”.
Budanov also pointed out that Cobra Island could also be useful to the Russians if they wanted to bolster their presence in the breakaway Transnistrian region of Moldova, which is run by a pro-Russian administration and where around 1,500 Russian troops are based.
Cobra Island has been disputed before, but only in the courts. Romania and Ukraine have had a long-running territorial dispute over the island and the surrounding seabed, which may hold hydrocarbon potential. The International Court of Justice then determined the status of the island and the borders of the exclusive economic zones of Ukraine and Romania in 2009.
This time around, it seems extremely unlikely that the fate of Cobra Island will be decided in a court of law.
Source: CNN Brasil