'Kaboom!' Ukraine celebrates Putin's humiliation as Russia retreats from Snake Island

30 June 2022, 11:09 | Updated: 30 June 2022, 14:31

Ukraine has retaken Snake Island after Moscow's troops abandoned the strategic outpost in what Russia's Defence Ministry has described as a 'goodwill gesture'.
Ukraine has retaken Snake Island after Moscow's troops abandoned the strategic outpost in what Russia's Defence Ministry has described as a 'goodwill gesture'. Picture: Twitter

By Lauren Lewis

Ukraine's Presidential aide today celebrated Vladimir Putin's humiliation as Russia retreated from Snake Island following a days-long bombardment, writing 'KABOOM' on Twitter.

The Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak wrote: "KABOOM! No Russian troops on the Snake Island anymore. Our Armed Forces did a great job. More kaboom news to follow. All will be."

It comes after Russia's Defence Ministry said it withdrew its forces from Snake Island off Ukraine's Black Sea port of Odesa in what it described as a "goodwill gesture".

Ukraine's military said the Russians fled the island in two speedboats following a barrage of Ukrainian artillery and missile strikes.

Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Lt Gen Igor Konashenkov insisted that the withdrawal was intended to demonstrate that "the Russian Federation wasn't hampering the United Nations' efforts to establish a humanitarian corridor for taking agricultural products from the territory of Ukraine".

Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of blockading Ukrainian ports to prevent the exports of grain, contributing to the global food crisis.

Moscow has denied the accusations and claimed Ukraine needs to remove mines from the Black Sea to allow safe navigation.

Snake Island, 20 miles off the coast, figured memorably early in the war when Ukrainian border guards stationed there defied Russian orders to surrender, using colourful language that later became a rallying cry.

Russia at the time took control of the island in an apparent hope to help it to control the area and use it as a staging ground for an attack on Odesa. Russian forces stationed there have come under relentless Ukrainian attacks.

The Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, tweeted the news, writing "KABOOM" alongside a picture of smoke rising from the strategic outpost
The Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, tweeted the news, writing "KABOOM" alongside a picture of smoke rising from the strategic outpost. Picture: Twitter

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It comes less than two weeks after Kyiv's navy claimed to have struck a Russian boat carrying air defence systems to the strategic island.

The navy said the Vasily Bekh was used to transport ammunition, weapons and personnel to Snake Island, which is vital for protecting sea lanes out of the key port of Odesa.

The flagship of Russia's Black Sea fleet, the Moskva, which was used in the seizure of Snake Island, was sunk near the island in April by Ukraine.

It was a major coup for the outmanned and outgunned Ukrainian forces, which used technology and intelligence from the US to target the ship.

The Ukrainian navy said on Friday that after the sinking of the Moskva, the Russians began to install an anti-aircraft missile system called TOR on the decks of their ships.

It said that was not enough to prevent Ukraine's naval forces from "demilitarising the Russian occupiers".

There was no immediate reaction from Russian authorities about the Ukrainian claim.

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Despite the apparent success, Ukraine has urged its allies to rush more and better weapons to the country, saying it cannot hold off Russia's more powerful forces without more support.

Western weapons have been critical to the embattled nation's surprising success so far.

Kyiv has also pushed for increased political support, including a fast track to membership in the European Union.

On a visit to Ukraine on Thursday, four European Union leaders vowed to back Kyiv's candidacy to eventually join the bloc.

The European Commission is set to meet on Friday to make its official recommendation.

The war has increased pressure on EU governments to move more quickly on Ukraine's candidate status, and Thursday's pledge to support candidacy status for Ukraine and neighbouring Moldova pushes the 27-nation union closer to doing so.

But the process is expected to take years, and EU members remain divided over how quickly and fully to open their arms to new members.

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