Ukraine army hails ‘liberation’ of ‘strategically important’ Snake Island

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Ukraine’s army on Thursday hailed the withdrawal of Russian forces from the Black Sea’s Snake Island, which was captured in the first days of Russia’s invasion.

“I thank the defenders of Odesa region who took maximum measures to liberate a strategically important part of our territory,” Valeriy Zaluzhny, Ukraine military’s commander-in-chief, said on Telegram.

“Unable to withstand the fire of our artillery, missile and airstrikes, the occupiers left Snake Island,” Zaluzhny said.

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Moscow said earlier it was leaving the island as a “goodwill gesture,” to allow Kyiv to ship agricultural products from Ukraine.

“They always downplay their defeats this way,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter.

He also called on Ukraine’s western allies to provide more weapons “so that we liberate more of our lands.”

Ukrainian presidential aide Mikhaylo Podolyak said on Twitter: “So, in order for Russia to show its goodwill, we have to beat it up regularly.”

Ukraine has accused Russia of stealing its grain, contributing to a global food shortage caused by grain exports blocked in Ukrainian ports.

Snake Island 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 a Russian warship to surrender.

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