Ukraine

Ukraine: Everything you need to know about Snake Island

The island, located in the Black Sea, has become a talisman of Ukrainian defence.

Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, few outside of the immediate area had heard of Snake Island.

With a size of 42 acres, the island doesn’t even have its own fresh water supply.

However, the tiny speck of rock in the Black Sea has seen a number of Ukrainian military victories and its location makes it vitally important.

Watch: British troops train Ukrainian soldiers on Salisbury Plain.

As a radar base, the island gives a clear indication for what is happening in the air over Ukraine.

Pete Sandeman, Director, Navy Lookout, told Forces News the island, located on the approach to the port of Odessa, holds strategic value as whoever "controls it can control a substantial area of airspace around it and the sea lanes that approach the southern Ukrainian ports".

Mr Sandeman said the Ukraine and Russia have both fought over the island, with the "biggest single event... the sinking of the cruiser Moskova" – which was in the vicinity of Snake Island.

"The Moskova obviously had air defence capability herself," he said.

"Now, the loss of that ship meant that Snake Island had increased value as an air defence sight."

Previously in Russian hands, the island has now been "abandoned" and become "untenable for the Russians".

"I believe the Russians have made several attempts to land air defence missiles on the island and set up a base there but the Ukrainians have [continuously]  struck it, destroying boats delivering equipment and attacking installations on the island," Mr Sandeman said.