Ukraine claims that Russia lost nearly $1 billion in equipment and troops while attempting to retake Snake Island.
They released video of their two-month operation against the Russians, as well as a detailed statement outlining how they reclaimed the iconic island.
The footage was obtained from the Armed Forces of Ukraine’s Operational Command “South,” along with a statement that stated: “On Zmiiny [also known as Snake Island], the creation of an air defence and fire damage system using rocket salvo systems was aimed at ensuring control over the sea and sky in that area of the Black Sea.”
“Our defence forces combined their forces to counter this in the same methodical and planned manner that the occupiers equipped their garrison.”
“The operation lasted more than two months,” the Ukrainian military said. It was a complex and cascade of management decisions, force and means calculations, data collection on the situation and the use of various weapons and equipment, calculating the enemy’s tactics and strategy, and building our own, more effective, expedient, and often non-standard ones.
“The operation involved a group of disparate forces from the Navy, a squadron of Bayraktar [Turkish drones], the Air Force, missile forces and artillery, units from the State Border Service, intelligence SBU Security Service, and other units from the ‘Alexandria’ operational-strategic group of troops.”
“The operation had several stages,” they explained. First and foremost, cutting off logistical support routes by targeting the ship-boat depot, supply vessels, and equipment with which the enemy attempted to equip the garrison.
“At this point, the precise work of the ‘Bayraktar’ UAVs, as well as the use of partner armed assistance and domestic technologies, had an impact on four high-speed ‘Raptor’ patrol boats, a high-speed amphibious ‘Serna’ fast landing craft, the ‘Admiral Essen’ frigate was significantly damaged, and the new modern tugboat ‘Lifeguard Vasiliy Bekh’ was ‘transferred to the submarine fleet
“Nonetheless, about three dozen pieces of equipment were delivered to the island, according to intelligence: a Tor-M2 and a TZM SAM [surface-to-air missile] system, four ‘Pantsir-S1’ [self-propelled anti-aircraft missile and artillery systems], two ‘Grad’ and ‘Tornado-G’ [multiple rocket launcher vehicles], one BBM [armoured fighting vehicle], three military vehicles, two diesel generators, and
“After the sinking of the [Russian] ‘Moskva’ [guided missile cruiser], which provided anti-aircraft defence for the naval group at sea, the Russians decided to build a stationary cruiser on the island.”
“However, a balanced and careful examination of the situation, as well as strong planning and preparation for the most active stage, produced results.”
“The occupying forces’ command post, obstacle, and reconnaissance equipment, which they had placed on stolen drilling rigs in the Odesa gas field, were suddenly and precisely hit.” In addition to the losses, this sent a strong message to the enemy about the desperation and true capabilities of southern Ukraine’s defence forces.
“With the enemy’s air and missile attacks, radio-electronic suppression, and limited manoeuvring of its artillery weapons, the operation’s goal was achieved through constant fire, disruption of logistical support between the mainland and the enemy’s garrison on the island, which was carried out by sea, and demoralisation of the enemy’s personnel.”
“The enemy left Snake Island, destroying missiles that had not been hit.”
“The total losses of the Russian occupying forces around the island amount to more than $900 million,” they added.
The images and statement were also relayed by the Armed Forces of Ukraine’s Office of Strategic Communications (StratCom).
After being repeatedly bombarded by Ukrainian artillery, Russia abandoned Snake Island in the Black Sea. Ukraine then released images of the Ukrainian flag flying over the island once more.
Valery Zaluzhny, Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, previously stated: “Unable to withstand the fire of our artillery, missile, and air strikes, the occupiers left Snake Island.”
The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed in state media that they left Snake Island as a “goodwill gesture,” saying, “On June 30, the Russian Armed Forces made a gesture of goodwill and completed the tasks on Zmiinyi [Snake] Island and withdrew the garrison that was there.”
However, Ukraine’s presidential administration chief, Andriy Yermak, dismissed the Russian statement, saying that “all of this is a complete forgery,” adding that “the Ukrainian Armed Forces drove the Russians out of Snake Island.”
Snake Island made international headlines on February 24, at the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, when a group of Ukrainian soldiers famously told a Russian warship demanding their surrender to “go f**k itself.”
According to reports, the Russian warship demanded: “Snake Island, I, Russian warship, reiterate the offer: lay down your arms and surrender or be bombed. Have you gotten my point? Do you mimic?”
“Russian warship, go f**k yourself,” the Ukrainians responded.
After that, the Russians opened fire on the Ukrainian positions. It was initially assumed that the Russians had beaten the Ukrainian soldiers to death, but it was later revealed that they had survived. They were imprisoned by the Russians before being released during a prisoner exchange in late March and being awarded medals for their bravery.
The Moskva, the ship that asked the Ukrainians to surrender, was later damaged and sank, with the Ukrainians claiming it was hit by their Neptune anti-ship missiles. The Russians, on the other hand, claimed that a fire on board exploded the ship’s munitions, and that it sank while being towed to port.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what is still being described as a “special military operation” by the Kremlin. The invasion enters its 139th day on Tuesday.
Between February 24 and July 12, Russia lost approximately 37,470 personnel, 1,649 tanks, 3,829 armoured combat vehicles, 838 artillery units, 247 multiple launch rocket systems, 109 air defence systems, 217 warplanes, 188 helicopters, 676 drones, 155 cruise missiles, 15 warships, 2,699 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 66 units of special equipment, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Other developments in the Russia-Ukraine conflict include:
Ukraine’s Defense Minister, Oleksii Reznikov, has hinted at plans to form a “million-strong army” armed with NATO weapons to fight Russian troops, but the remarks have been interpreted as more of a rallying cry than a concrete plan.
Russia is making gains in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine and continues to launch missile strikes across the country.
Reznikov has stated that Western weapons must be delivered to Ukraine as soon as possible. He claimed that for every day they have to wait for howitzers, they could lose up to 100 soldiers.
At least 34 people have been confirmed dead after a Russian missile struck an apartment building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Chasiv Yar. Rescue workers continue to sift through the rubble in search of survivors.
At least six people were killed after Russian rockets hit Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine on Monday, and the mayor of Mykolaiv in southwestern Ukraine, Oleksandr Syenkevych, said at least four people were injured by shelling Tuesday morning.
The governor of Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk, Pavlo Kyrylenko, has stated that 80 percent of civilians have fled, with approximately 340,000 people remaining.
Germany and the Czech Republic signed a joint declaration promising to reduce their reliance on Russian fossil fuels and accelerate the transition to low-carbon energy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed legislation making it easier for Ukrainians to obtain Russian citizenship.
According to the Kremlin, Putin plans to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after they discuss how to facilitate grain exports from Ukraine.
The US has warned that Iran intends to supply Russia with drones. According to White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, intelligence indicates that Iran is preparing to train Russian troops to use its drones.