Kyiv — Ukrainian troops raised the flag on the Black Sea island on Thursday as a symbol of rebellion against Moscow, but Russian troops integrated their interests in eastern Ukraine and investigated the defense of potential new targets.
Moscow responded swiftly to the flag-raising ceremony. It said one of its fighters immediately attacked Snake Island, where it destroyed part of the Ukrainian detachment.
A small island located about 140 km (90 miles) south of the port of Odesa in Ukraine is strategically important for protecting sea lanes. Russia abandoned it at the end of June. It was a well-meaning gesture. Kieu hoped that the victory of Ukraine would ease the blockade of the Ukrainian port by Moscow.
Images released by the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior on Thursday show three Ukrainian soldiers holding blue and yellow flags on a patch on the ground of the island next to the wreckage of a flat building.
Russia’s missile strikes on the island’s new inhabitants have caused significant damage to the dock, said Serhiy Bratuk, a spokesman for the Odesa local government.
Two more Russian missiles attacked and destroyed two grain stores in his area, including 35 tonnes of grain, Brachuk said.
In Moscow, the Russian Defense Ministry said several Ukrainian troops landed on the island before dawn and took pictures with flags raised.
“Russian Aerospace Forces aircraft soon launched a high-precision missile attack on Snake Island, resulting in the destruction of some Ukrainian military personnel,” said Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the ministry.
“Suspension of operation?”
Meanwhile, Russian troops in eastern Ukraine continued to put pressure on Ukrainian troops trying to maintain the line along the northern border of the Donetsk region, preparing for a wider range of new attacks expected.
After occupying the city of Lysychans’k on Sunday and effectively strengthening full control of the Luhansk region of Ukraine, Moscow has unveiled plans to occupy part of the neighboring Donetsk region, which it has not yet occupied. Kieu still dominates some big cities.
Donetsk Governor Pablo Kirirenko, who recently accused Russia of heavy bombardment, wrote in Telegram that seven civilians had been killed by Russia in the last 24 hours in the region.
Reuters could not independently test his claim, and the Russian Defense Ministry states that it does not target civilians and uses precision weapons to eliminate military threats.
The Ukrainian General Staff said Russian troops were moving more troops to the Luhansk region to strengthen Moscow’s control.
Ukrainian officials said Wednesday that fighting was underway at the northern border between Luhansk and the Donetsk region as Russian troops attempted a new invasion.
However, a complete attack has not yet been realized after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wanted to rest the troops involved in the occupation of the Luhansk region.
The US-based Institute for the Study of War said it does not appear to have occupied a new territory since Russia occupied Lysychans’k on Sunday.
“The Russian army is suspending operations while engaging in limited ground attacks to set conditions for more important offensive operations,” he said.
Russia has stated that in its two self-proclaimed People’s Republics, it wants to take control of the highly industrialized areas of the east on behalf of Moscow-backed separatists.
Ukraine has repeatedly begged the West to send more weapons to end the conflict.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a nightly video message that his army now has some of what it needs.
“Finally, Western artillery has begun to work powerfully. It’s the weapon we’re getting from our partners, and their precision is exactly what we need,” he insisted.