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    HomeNewsHeadlinesUkraine's Zelenskiy visits symbolic Snake Island to mark 500 days of war

    Ukraine's Zelenskiy visits symbolic Snake Island to mark 500 days of war


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    (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy made a significant visit to Snake Island, a rocky outcrop on the Black Sea, to commemorate 500 days since Russia’s invasion, as shown in a video released by his office on Saturday.

    The visit to the tiny island holds great symbolic meaning as it represents Ukrainian defiance, with Ukrainian guards famously refusing to surrender to Russian forces on the war’s first day.

    In a black hoodie and camouflage bullet-proof vest, Zelenskiy paid his respects by laying flowers in honor of those who defended the island. He expressed gratitude to all the soldiers who have fought for Ukraine in the months since Russia’s invasion on February 24, 2022.

    In a video posted on his Telegram channel, Zelenskiy said, “I want to thank each of our soldiers for these 500 days, right from this place of victory. May the freedom that our heroes of different times have desired for Ukraine, and which we must now achieve, be a tribute to all those who sacrificed their lives for Ukraine.”

    Strategically located, Snake Island overlooks sea lanes to Odesa, Ukraine’s main Black Sea port.

    During the initial hours of the invasion, Russian officers on the Black Sea Fleet flagship Moskva ordered Ukrainian guards on the barren outcrop to surrender or face death. One guard defiantly radioed back, “Russian warship, go f*** yourself.”

    This phrase became a national slogan and was depicted on Ukrainian billboards, T-shirts, and even a postage stamp.

    On April 14, 2022, two Ukrainian missiles struck the Moskva, marking the largest warship sunk in combat for 40 years. Russia claims one sailor was killed in an accident, but Western experts believe that approximately half of the crew, consisting of about 450 individuals, perished at sea.

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    On June 30, 2023, Russia eventually abandoned Snake Island after incurring heavy losses while attempting to defend it. Russia referred to its withdrawal as another “goodwill gesture.”

    Zelenskiy stated, “Although Snake Island may be a small piece of land in the middle of the Black Sea, it is a powerful testament to Ukraine’s determination to reclaim every part of its territory.”

    While Russia still holds significant portions of eastern and southern Ukraine, Zelenskiy announced that his troops have made progress in gaining ground during a counteroffensive following a challenging week.

    (Editing by Ros Russell, William Maclean)

    Credit: The Star : News Feed

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