Ukraine has accused Russia of attacking Snake Island with phosphorus munitions, a day after Moscow’s forces withdrew from the strategic Black Sea location.
Ukraine’s armed forces said that at 6 p.m. Friday, two Russian Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets struck the island, which has been the scene of a fierce struggle between the two sides since the war began on Feb. 24.
Alongside their Facebook statement, the Ukrainian military posted a video it said showed the strike. Footage shows a plane dropping munitions at least twice over the island, with what appear to be white streaks rising overhead.
Phosphorus weapons, which leave a characteristic white trail, are incendiary weapons whose use against civilians is prohibited by an international convention but which are authorized for military targets.
Newsweek did not verify the footage and contacted the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.
“The leadership of the Russian Armed Forces does not even respect its own statements declaring a ‘goodwill gesture,'” the Ukrainian military said in a statement on the video, according to a translation.
This refers to Russia’s claim that it had withdrawn its forces from the island as a ‘goodwill gesture’ to allow Kyiv to export agricultural products that had been stuck in seaports. Noire, which Ukraine has accused Moscow of blocking.
While Moscow presented the withdrawal as a measure to prevent a global food crisis, the Ukrainian military rejected this explanation and said the Russians fled the island in two-speed boats after facing a roadblock Ukrainian artillery and missile strikes.
Russia’s withdrawal from the island is seen as a major boost to Ukraine’s efforts to weaken Russian naval dominance and erodes Moscow’s ability to threaten the southern city of Odessa.
Somewhere else, the British Ministry of Defense (MOD), said on Saturday that the Russian forces continue their “minor advances” around Lysychansk, with air and artillery strikes, although the Kyiv army “probably” blocks the Russian forces in the southeast of the city.
British defense officials also said the missile that hit the Kremenchuk shopping center on June 27 was likely a Kh-32, which is an upgraded version of the Soviet-era Kh-22 Kitchen missile. The G7 accused Russia of a “war crime” for the attack in which at least 20 people died. Moscow has repeatedly said it was not targeting civilian infrastructure and called the attack a “provocation”.
But British defense officials suggested the missile used would be a feature of other attacks in Ukraine and, although updated, posed a risk to civilians as it had still not been “optimized to strike with precision”. ground targets, especially in an urban environment”.
These missiles were also likely to have been used in the Odessa area on Thursday and their lack of accuracy “has almost certainly repeatedly caused civilian casualties in recent weeks”, Britain’s MOD said in its daily update.