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Russia claims defense against ‘mad’ attempt by Ukraine to retake Snake Island

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Russia said Tuesday it had repelled a “mad” attempt by Kyiv’s forces to retake the Black Sea’s Snake Island captured by Moscow at the start of military action in Ukraine.

The outpost became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance after a radio exchange went viral at the start of the war, in which Ukrainian soldiers used an expletive in rebuffing a demand by the Russian warship Moskva to surrender.


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Besides its symbolic value, the island also has a strategic location off the coast of Ukraine and Romania, and Moscow says Ukraine’s forces have tried to recapture it several times.

“On June 20 at 5:00 a.m., the Kyiv regime undertook another mad attempt to take possession of Snake Island,” Russia’s defense ministry said in a briefing.

Ukraine’s forces had “planned to carry out massive air and artillery fire... before landing and capturing” the island, it added.

The ministry said 15 Ukrainian attack and reconnaissance drones took part in the airstrike while missile launchers and howitzers fired at the island.

Russian air defense systems intercepted all the projectiles and shot down 13 drones, “forcing the enemy to abandon the landing on Snake Island”, the ministry added.

It also said that Russian radars had detected a US RQ-4 “Global Hawk” reconnaissance drone in the area.

AFP could not independently verify these claims.

The ministry said the failed attempt to retake the island led to an attack on oil rigs off the coast of Russia-annexed Crimea.

On Tuesday, officials in Crimea said one of the oil rigs was still burning, and a search continues for seven missing persons.

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