Ukrainian flag flies over Snake Island again! Banner is raised after Putin’s troops retreat from strategic and symbolic location where Russian invaders were famously told: ‘Go f*** yourself!’
- Ukraine has raised its flag over Snake Island after Russia retreated last week
- Colours were flown by volunteer unit Zgard as it visited the island for 15 minutes
- ‘Snake Island has always been Ukrainian and always will be,’ guard chief said
- Spit of land became symbolic of resistance to Russian invasion when defenders memorably told an approaching warship to ‘go f*** yourself’
Ukraine has shown its flag flying on Snake Island for the first time since Vladimir Putin‘s forces withdrew from the strategic island.
Troops from special volunteer unit Zgard inspected the blitzed Black Sea island and flew the blue-and-yellow national flag.
Guards chief Arut Papoian said: ‘Snake island has always been Ukrainian and always will be. And no temporary occupation will change that.
‘Our battalion was the first to visit Snake Island after liberation.
‘ It was risky, but now our flag is flying on the island.
‘Soon all of Ukraine will be freed. We will win together.’
A source said: ‘The soldiers were on the island for 15 minutes. They hung flags, took selfies and evacuated to the mainland.’
Footage shows the destruction of infrastructure on the remote island.
Earlier pictures purporting to show the Ukrainian flag on Snake Island in fact showed a scene from before the war.
Russian forces fled from Snake Island on 30 June after heavy Ukrainian bombardment – but Putin’s naval forces remain in the seas around it.
Ukraine portrayed the retreat as a humiliation for Russia.
Moscow claimed it was a ‘gesture of goodwill’ and ‘demonstrated to the world community that the Russian Federation does not prevent the efforts of the UN to organise a humanitarian corridor for the export of agricultural products from the territory of Ukraine’.
The strategic Black Sea island has been in dispute since early in the four-and-a-half month war, when Ukrainian defenders famously told an approaching Russian warship to ‘go f*** yourself’.
The Russian cruiser – the Moskva – was later sunk in a Ukrainian missile strike, perhaps Vladimir Putin’s biggest single humiliation of the war.