(FiveNation.com)- This week, the Ukrainian military claimed to have launched an airstrike on Snake Island in the Black Sea that resulted in “significant losses” to Russian forces on the island.
The southern operational command of the Ukrainian military said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that it used “various forces and methods of destruction” to target Russian infrastructure on Snake Island.
Snake Island is just south of Odesa and considered critical to control of the Black Sea.
Wednesday morning, the Ukrainian military claimed its attack had destroyed a Russian air defense system, radar installation, as well as vehicles on the island.
Naturally, Russia’s defense ministry disputes the claim, saying it had thwarted an attack from 15 drones and long-range missiles which Russia said was launched in advance of an attempt to land Ukrainian soldiers on Snake Island. When the attack was thwarted, the Russian ministry said, it “forced the enemy to abandon the landing to Snake Island.”
The Russians claimed that after the attempt to seize the island failed, the Ukrainian military used long-range anti-ship missiles and drones to attack a Russian drilling platform in the northwestern region of the Black Sea. The Russians accused the Ukrainians of causing environmental damage from the attack.
Neither set of details of the events on Snake Island could be independently verified. But Ukrainian officials did confirm the attack on Russia’s offshore drilling infrastructure, saying Moscow was converting the drilling platform into a military surveillance and communications installation.
The current fighting around Snake Island began last Friday when Ukraine attacked a Russian naval tugboat on a mission to deliver weapons and personnel to the island. According to UK military intelligence, it is likely Ukraine used the newly supplied Harpoon missiles in the attack.
The 46-acre Snake Island is vital to Russia as control of the island just 20 miles off the coast would give them control of shipping lanes in the northwestern Black Sea.
But according to British analysts, Ukraine’s coastal defense capabilities have “largely neutralized” Russia’s ability to project maritime force in the northwestern Black Sea.