Ukrainian flag raised over Snake Island after Russian retreat

Ukrainian forces have raised the country’s flag on Snake Island, a strategic and symbolic outpost in the Black Sea that Russian troops retreated from last week after months of heavy bombardment.

“The military operation has been concluded, and … the territory, Snake Island, has been returned to the jurisdiction of Ukraine,” Natalia Humeniuk, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern military command, told reporters.

Ukraine has considered control of the island as a critical step in loosening Moscow’s blockade on its southern ports.

However, it was not clear if Ukrainian troops would seek to re-establish a permanent presence there, as it is dangerously exposed to bombardment.

On Sunday, a military official told the Guardian the area of the Black Sea around Snake Island was still a “grey zone”, meaning that, technically, the Ukrainians did not intend to bring their forces back.

Snake Island became known internationally when Russia first captured it in February.



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