Chris Lange, FISM News
Ukrainian forces raised their national flag on Snake Island Thursday in a display of continued defiance against Moscow. Andriy Yermak, the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, hailed a video of the flag-raising as a precursor of what he expects to happen in the coming days.
“The flag of Ukraine is on Snake Island. Ahead of us are many more such videos from Ukrainian cities that are currently under temporary occupation,” he wrote on Telegram, according to a Reuters report.
Russia responded quickly, claiming that one of its warplanes struck the Black Sea island with missiles and destroyed a portion of the Ukrainian detachment stationed there. Russian forces occupying the strategic port situated roughly 90 miles south of Odesa withdrew last month, declaring the move to be a “good will” gesture.
Odesa regional administration spokesman Serhiy Bratchuk on Thursday confirmed the missile strike, saying it heavily damaged the island’s dock. He added that two additional Russian missiles struck and destroyed two grain stores in his region.
Russia’s defense ministry said several Ukrainian troops had landed on the island before dawn and taken pictures with the flag.
“An aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces immediately launched a strike with high-precision missiles on Snake Island, as a result of which part of the Ukrainian military personnel was destroyed,” ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.
Snake Island became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance in the early days of the war when roughly a dozen Ukrainian guards stationed there stared down two Russian warships, refusing to surrender.
Elsewhere in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday that fierce fighting continues along the northern border between the Luhansk and Donetsk regions where Ukrainian troops desperately try to hold the line, despite being outnumbered and outgunned by Russian forces.
With the capture of the city of Lysychansk on Sunday, Moscow has taken near-total control of Ukraine’s Luhansk region. Russian forces are now focused on capturing areas of the neighboring Donetsk region still controlled by Kyiv.
The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War said Russia did not appear to have taken any new territory since its forces captured Lysychank on Sunday.
It assessed that “Russian forces are conducting an operational pause while still engaging in limited ground attacks to set conditions for more significant offensive operations.”
Russia’s ex-president warns of nuclear war that could end ‘the existence of mankind’ if Moscow is punished for war crimes
Former Russian president and close Putin ally Dmitry Mdvedev wrote on the Telegram app Thursday that if Moscow is punished for war crimes against Ukraine, it could result in a nuclear war that would end ‘the existence of mankind,” according to a Daily Mail report.
‘The idea of punishing the country that has the largest nuclear potential is absurd in itself. And potentially threatens the existence of mankind,” Mdvedev said, going on to accuse the U.S. of attempting to ‘sow chaos and destruction’ through the ICC. He further declared the U.S. to be either “a ‘daredevil or an idiot’.
Mdvedev acted as Putin’s stand-in president from 2008 to 2012.
Russia’s war in Ukraine to overshadow G-20 talks in Bali
Group of 20 foreign ministers representing the world’s leading wealthy and developing nations are gathering at Indonesia’s resort island of Bali. The summit’s agenda is centered around global cooperation and food and energy security, but will undoubtedly be overshadowed by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Ahead of the one-day meeting, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov made stops in several Asian capitals on their way to Bali in an effort to strengthen their ties to the region, according to Reuters. Both China and Russia are G20 members
Moscow’s participation in G-20 events has created significant tensions within the group. Many members have condemned the invasion of Ukraine and supported unprecedented sanctions against Russia. Members China and India, however, abstained from voting on UN resolutions to punish Moscow and have refused to publicly condemn its invasion of Ukraine.
President Biden has argued that Russia should not be permitted to remain in the group but China, Brazil, and South Africa objected to its removal.