The Ukrainian President’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak bragged with a video posted on Telegram that three soldiers have raised a large Ukrainian flag on the Snake Island, after heavy bombardment from Ukrainian artillery on June 30 forced out the Russian forces.
He also wrote that he’s looking forward to many more such videos from Ukrainian cities that are currently temporarily occupied by Russia.
Shortly after Yermak’s briefing, Russia’s defense ministry spokesman, Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov, said at the ministry’s daily briefing on Thursday that a Russian warplane struck Snake Island overnight, shortly after Ukrainian troops claimed to have raised their flag over it.
Konashenkov claimed that the strike destroyed that part of the Ukrainian detachment on the tiny island, which is strategically important due to its proximity to the sea lanes to Ukraine’s port of Odesa.
Meanwhile, as the Russian troops attempt to reassemble for a renewed assault, Russia may be temporarily easing its offensive in Ukraine, foreign analysts say.
According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), for the first time in 133 days of the war, the Russian forces made no claimed or assessed territorial gains in Ukraine on Wednesday.
Russia’s Defense Ministry’s statement on Thursday saying Russian military units involved in Ukraine combats were given time to rest seemed to confirm the assessment of the Washington, DC-based think tank suggested Moscow may be taking an operational break that does not entail the complete cessation of active hostilities.
The situation on the ground, however, paints a different picture with a senior Ukrainian official stressing on Wednesday that Ukrainian soldiers are desperately fighting to withstand a major Russian offensive supported by heavy artillery fire in the Donetsk region in Moscow’s attempt to pave the way for ground forces to advance.