The strategic territory of Snake Island is “free again,”

AnneClaire Stapleton

Snake Island is “free again,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Thursday.

“Zmiinyi [Snake] Island is a strategic point, and it significantly changes the situation in the Black Sea. It does not guarantee safety yet, it does not yet guarantee that the enemy will not return. But it already limits the actions of the occupiers significantly. Step by step, we will drive them out of our sea, our land, and our sky,” Zelensky said.

The small but strategic territory was the scene of one of the opening salvos of the war in Ukraine, with demands from a Russian warship calling for the Ukrainian defenders to surrender, who boldly replied with “Russian warship, go f*** yourself.”

Known as Zmiinyi Ostriv in Ukrainian, Snake Island lies around 30 miles (48 kilometers) off the coast of Ukraine and is close to the sea lanes leading to the Bosphorus and Mediterranean.

Some background: Ukrainian Armed Forces said Russian troops left the island on Thursday, after they carried out what they said was a “successful” operation. Meanwhile, Russian Army spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said at a briefing that its forces left the island “as a gesture of goodwill.”

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