Serpents’ Island became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance from the first day of the Russian offensive, when a member of the small Ukrainian garrison defending it ordered the Russian ship demanding its surrender to “fuck it.” “. It is even more so since Russia announced on Thursday June 30 that it was withdrawing from this small territory located in the northwest of the Black Sea, facing the mouth of the Danube.

According to the official Russian version, the decision was taken “as a sign of goodwill”, the “objectives set” on the spot having been “accomplished” according to her. This would include, according to Moscow, to facilitate the transport of Ukrainian grain.

“Russia does not oppose UN efforts to create a humanitarian corridor to export grain production from Ukraine,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said. This decision will no longer allow kyiv to speculate on an impending food crisis by saying that it is impossible to export grain because of Russia’s total control over the northwest Black Sea. »

‘Minimization’ of defeat, says Ukraine

But Ukraine, which launched an attack on the island on June 21, refutes the idea of ​​a voluntary initiative by Russia. The Ukrainian army’s southern command said on Thursday that “the enemy fled in two speedboats”, leaving the island “on fire” and where “explosions are still being heard”. For the head of Ukrainian diplomacy, Dmytro Kuleba, the Russians are trying to “minimize their defeat, as usual”.

The Ukrainian army was quick to congratulate itself for forcing Moscow’s forces, “unable to withstand the fire of [its] artillery and [its] airstrikes”, to leave the island. “I thank the defenders of the Odessa region who did their utmost to liberate a strategically important territory,” Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Valery Zaluzhny wrote on Telegram.

“Our armed forces have done a great job,” Andriy Yermak, the head of the administration of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, also tweeted.

Ukrainian strikes

kyiv claimed responsibility for the destruction of a Russian Pantsir C1 anti-aircraft system and a radar station. An army clip shows the Turkish drone Bayraktar and the Ukrainian-designed 2S22 Bohdana self-propelled howitzer as the main architects of the destruction of Russian forces on Serpents’ Island.

Instead, Russian Telegram channels refer to the French Caesar howitzer and the Soviet-designed Tochka-U ballistic missiles as “responsible for the multiplication of artillery fire against the island, coming from the Odessa region”.

The 2S22 Bohdana, however, only fires at 40 kilometers, a distance less than that which separates the island from the Ukrainian coast. The range of the Caesars’ shots is a little longer, but remains limited for precise shots, especially since the guns were probably deployed back from the coast to be hidden by vegetation and therefore be less vulnerable to Russian fire. The role of the howitzers, however, remains plausible if they used new generation shells of the Excalibur type, guided by GPS and able to accurately hit targets up to 40 kilometers away.

Reacting to the departure of the Russians, the Ukrainian foreign minister once again called on kyiv’s Western allies to “provide more heavy weapons” to “liberate more territories” occupied by Moscow.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson presented the Russian withdrawal as proof of “the incredible ability of the Ukrainians to fight back to overcome adversity and push back the Russians”. He said he was convinced that “in the end, it will prove impossible for Putin to subjugate a country that will not accept his domination”.