Speed Reads

Snake Eyes

Ukraine keeps hitting exposed Russian forces on symbolically important Snake Island, U.S. and U.K. confirm

Eleven weeks after Russia captured Snake Island (Zmiinyi Island), a strategically and symbolically important Ukrainian rock in the Black Sea, fighting continues, "with Russia repeatedly trying to reinforce its exposed garrison located there," Britain's Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update early Wednesday. 

"Ukraine has successfully struck Russian air defenses and resupply vessels with Bayraktar drones," the Defense Ministry added. "Russia's resupply vessels have minimum protection in the western Black Sea, following the Russian Navy's retreat to Crimea after the loss of the Moskva," Russia's sunken Black Sea flagship Ukrainian forces told to "go f--k yourself" before Russia took the island. 

Ukraine has been posting footage purporting to be its drones and fighter jets blowing up various Russian targets on Snake Island, with various soundtracks.

"I think you all saw video footage and Ukrainian comments about Snake Island and some strikes that they conducted there," a senior Pentagon official told reporters on Monday. "We think there was at least three targets hit from airstrikes on Snake Island, but as for overarching effect, I think we're still trying to figure figure all that out." The official said Tuesday that Russia is now "flying combat air patrols near Snake Island," likely "an outgrowth of the attacks that the Ukrainians conducted there in the last few days."

"Russia's current efforts to augment its forces on Zmiinyi Island offer Ukraine more opportunities to engage Russian troops and attrit materiel," Britain's Defense Ministry said. "If Russia consolidates its position on Zmiinyi Island with strategic air defense and coastal defense cruise missiles, they could dominate the north-western Black Sea."