Vasily Bekh: Ukraine claims to have struck Russian boat carrying air defences to Snake Island

The Ukrainian navy claims it has struck a Russian boat carrying air defence systems to a strategic island in the Black Sea.

The navy said the Vasily Bekh was used to transport ammunition, weapons and personnel to Snake Island, which is vital for protecting sea lanes out of the key port of Odesa.

It did not say how much damage it inflicted with the strike – and claims have not yet been verified.

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Snake Island, 20 miles off the coast, figured memorably early in the war when Ukrainian border guards stationed there defied Russian orders to surrender, using colourful language that later became a rallying cry.

The Ukrainian navy claims it has struck a Russian boat carrying air defence systems to a strategic island in the Black Sea.

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Ukraine conflict: Large Russian ship, the Orsk, destroyed by Ukrainian military ...

The flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, used in the seizure of Snake Island, was sunk in April by Ukraine — a major coup for the outmanned and outgunned Ukrainian forces, which used technology and intelligence from the US to target the ship.

The Ukrainian navy said on Friday that after the sinking of the flagship Moskva, the Russians began to install an anti-aircraft missile system called TOR on the decks of their ships.

It said that was not enough to prevent Ukraine’s naval forces from “demilitarising the Russian occupiers”.

There was no immediate reaction from Russian authorities about the Ukrainian claim.

The European Commission has recommended that Ukraine be designated a candidate for membership of the European Union - bringing its hopes of joining a step closer.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “We have one clear message - and that is, yes, Ukraine deserves European perspective, yes, Ukraine should be welcomed as a candidate country.”