Ukraine: Drone destroys Russian landing ship
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The highly important island is located around 30 miles off the coast of Ukraine, and although the name suggests, is not inundated with serpents. Uninhabited bar a few sheep, the island is a key point in the Black Sea shipping lanes leading to the Mediterranean and the Bosporus straits. The island is famous for an incident at the start of the war in which Ukrainian defences in no uncertain terms told a Russian warship to “go f*** yourselves.”
New images emerging from the island now show an alleged Russian landing craft sitting on the bottom of the water.
Writing about the incident on Twitter, Foreign Policy national security reporter Jack Detsch said: “A Ukrainian-owned Bayraktar drone strike sunk a Russian Serna-class landing craft at Snake Island in the Black Sea, per satellite photos taken today.
“Ukraine took out Russian air defences and resupply vessels with the Bayraktar drones.”
In the photo taken by Maxar Satellites, the ill-fated craft can be seen meters away from a landing jetty, with several other vessels in the vicinity.
It is unknown at this time if any personnel were on board the craft, or what became of their fate.
Previous drone footage of the live incident 4 days ago does appear to show personnel on the craft as thick plumes of smoke were seen to be emanating from the centre of the vessel.
Russia has suffered several high profile losses in the Black Sea since the start of the conflict.
Most embarrassing for the Kremlin was the sinking of the flagship missile cruiser the Moskva, the pride of the Russian Black Sea fleet.
Reports suggest two missiles hit the massive ship causing it to burst into flames.
The Moskva sank to the bottom of the sea as it was being towed back to port following the strike.
Russia denied the ship had been hit by Ukrainian missiles, stating the fire started following an incident in the vessel’s ammo storage room.
The Moskva in part was designed to protect the skies around the strategic Snake Island, and the landing ship was believed to have been bringing in more air defences to counter Ukrainian drones and aircraft above the area.
Ironic then a drone strike destroyed the unit design to protect the skies.
Since the sinking of the original landing craft, another, a larger ship has been spotted appearing to be on the same mission as its sunken sister ship, namely to deliver an SA-15 Tor air defence system.
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Moscow is using the Black Sea as a strategic hub to continue its assault on Ukraine in part two of its so-called “Special Operation” to liberate eastern Ukraine from Nazis, and Kyiv control.
Attempts are being made to create a land bridge between mainland Russia and the already annexed Crimean Peninsula.
For Snake Island, Russia appears to be determined on maintaining control of the island, even if the move costs further lives and equipment.
The island provides a key surveillance point and it prevents Ukraine from benefiting in the same way.
Furthermore, it may be important in any peace agreements or end-game territory grabs.
Finally, its defence could become symbolic, in the same way as the Ukrainian hold-out in Mariupol.
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Although the island has no citizens, President Volodymyr has previously visited Snake Island saying it was part of Ukraine.
With Ukraine yet to re-take the island, voices in Ukraine may grow stronger in the future for Kyiv to act and reclaim the rock.
However, if it does the situation could be reversed with Russia free to take potshots at the Ukrainian garrison and lose valuable lives and hardware.
The island is essentially indefensible without effective area air defence.
And right now neither side looks like it could achieve that.
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