Since the beginning Russian invasion of UkraineSnake Island gained a vital and almost mystical status in the war.
The seemingly unremarkable rock outcrop in the Black Sea was seized by Russia and has become a battleground of strategic value.
Russia claims Ukraine suffered heavy losses in its failed attempt to retake the island, including special forces, warplanes, helicopters and drones.
Ukraine insists it has limited its operations to only attacking facilities on islands and ships.
The fighting is not over, and Russia is repeatedly trying to strengthen its exposed garrison, British defense ministry intelligence says.
Snake Island or Zmiinyi is less than a square kilometer in size, and there are no snakes there. Even so, there was no doubt that the island was important for controlling the western Black Sea.
“If Russian troops succeed in occupying Snake Island and setting up their long-range air defense system, they will control the sea, land and air in the northwestern part of the Black Sea and in the south of Ukraine,” Ukrainian military expert By Zhdanov told BBC.
That is why Russia’s flagship ship, the Moskva, sailed there hours after the start of the war, calling on the Ukrainian troops on the island to surrender.
“I suggest you lay down your arms and surrender to avoid unnecessary bloodshed and casualties. Otherwise you will be bombed,” said a Russian officer aboard the Moskva at the time.