Satellite images shows smoke rising from Snake Island, off the coast of Ukraine, on Thursday.
Ukrainian forces say they pushed Russian forces from the strategic Black Sea island.
Ukraine has pushed Russian forces from Snake Island, a strategic Black Sea island off the southern coast near the city of Odesa.
Russia portrayed the pullout from Snake Island off the port city of Odesa as a “goodwill gesture”. Ukraine’s military said the Russians fled the island in two speedboats after a barrage of Ukrainian artillery and missile strikes.
Ukraine’s win will weaken any plans Russia may have for a future land attack on that stretch of coastline, Ukrainian officials say.
Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, the commander of Ukraine’s armed forces, said Ukrainian-made Bohdana howitzers had played an important role in routing Russian forces from Snake Island, and he thanked foreign partners for their support.
“KABOOM!” Tweeted Andriy Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian presidential administration. “No more Russian troops on Snake Island.”
Russia’s ministry of defence stated that it had completed its assigned tasks and was tactically withdrawing to allow for grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. “In order to organise humanitarian grain corridors as part of the implementation of joint agreements reached with the participation of the UN, the Russian Federation decided to leave its positions on Zmiinyi Island,” the ministry said.
Yermak described Russia’s claim of goodwill as a lie.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy earlier hailed a victory over Russian forces occupying Snake Island, a strategic Black Sea island off the southern coast near the city of Odesa.
He said Zmiinyi Island – or Snake Island – was “free” after Russian forces withdrew from the strategic post.
Zmiinyi Island is a strategic point, and it significantly changes the situation in the Black Sea. It does not guarantee safety yet, it does not yet guarantee that the enemy will not return. But it already limits the actions of the occupiers significantly. Step by step, we will drive them out of our sea, our land, and our sky.”
Snake Island was made famous when Russia first captured it in February. A Ukrainian soldier posted on the island told an attacking Russian warship to “go fuck yourself”, which has become one of the most popular Ukrainian slogans of resistance since the invasion.
At least 17 people have been killed after two Russian missiles struck a multi-storey apartment building and a recreation centre in the southern port city of Odesa in the early hours of Friday, Ukrainian officials have said.
Ukraine’s state emergency services (SES) said that as of 6am on Friday, 14 people had been killed and 30 injured – including three children – in the attack on the apartment building.
Three people – including a child – were killed in a seperate attack on a recreation centre, with one injured, said the SES.
The Guardian could not immediately confirm details of the incident.
Ukrainian MP, Roman Hryshchuk, shared a video purportedly from the attack.
“Just imagine: you wake up and realise that there is no way out. People were trapped in their own apartments after Russian missiles hit a residential high-rise in Odesa,” he wrote alongside the video.
Hello it’s Samantha Lock back with you as we unpack all the latest news from Ukraine this morning.
Major developments overnight include a victory over Snake Island where Ukrainian forces pushed Russian troops from the strategic Black Sea outpost off the southern coast near the city of Odesa.
Russia portrayed the pullout from Snake Island as a “goodwill gesture”. Ukraine’s military said the Russians fled the island in two speedboats after a barrage of Ukrainian artillery and missile strikes.
And in the early hours of this morning, two Russian missiles reportedly struck a multi-storey apartment building and a recreation centre in Odesa.
At least 17 people were killed, Ukrainian officials have said.
Here are all the latest lines as of 8am in Kyiv.
- Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, says a new “iron curtain” is descending between Russia and the west, and that Moscow would not trust Washington and Brussels “from now on”. The process “has begun”, Lavrov said after talks with his counterpart from Belarus. “As far as an iron curtain is concerned, essentially it is already descending.”
- Ukrainian forces say they have pushed Russian forces from Snake Island, a strategic Black Sea outpost off the southern coast. Russia portrayed the pullout from the island as a “goodwill gesture”. Ukraine’s military said the Russians fled the island in two speedboats following a barrage of Ukrainian artillery and missile strikes.
- A Russian missile struck a multi-story apartment building in Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa early on Friday, killing at least 10 people, a local official said.
“The number of dead as a result of a strike on a multi-story apartment building has now risen to 10,” Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesman for the Odesa regional administration said on his Telegram channel.
- The situation in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lysychansk is “extremely difficult” as Russian forces’ continuous shelling makes it impossible for civilians to evacuate, officials say. “There is a lot of shelling and from multiple directions. The Russian army is approaching from different directions towards Lysychansk,” Luhansk’s regional governor, Serhiy Haidai said, adding that Russian forces remained on the city outskirts, where there was currently no street fighting.
- A cargo ship left the Russian-occupied Ukrainian port of Berdiansk for the first time since the city was seized by Moscow’s troops, according to a pro-Russia official. Yevgeny Balitsky, the head of the pro-Russia administration, was cited by Russian state media as saying the first cargo ship to leave Berdiansk was carrying 7,000 tonnes of grain to “friendly countries”, without saying what cargo the ship was carrying.
- Turkey’s president has warned that Ankara could still block Finland and Sweden’s accession to Nato if the two countries fail to fully meet his expectations. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that if the two Nordic countries reneged on their promises, including to extradite terror suspects with links to outlawed Kurdish groups, Turkey’s parliament could refuse to ratify the deal reached on Tuesday.
- Estonian and Latvian defence ministers signed a letter of intent on Thursday at the Nato summit in Madrid for joint procurement of medium-range anti-aircraft systems.“The aggression of Russia in Ukraine clearly shows the need for air defence systems,” the Latvian defence minister, Artis Pabriks, said in a statement.
- The French president, Emmanuel Macron, said France would deliver six Caesar howitzers and a “significant number” of armoured vehicles to Ukraine. He added that the Nato allies meeting in Madrid “unanimously decided” to boost humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine.
- Russia’s foreign ministry said it had summoned the British ambassador in Moscow, Deborah Bronnert, to protest against Boris Johnson’s “offensive” remarks regarding Russia and Vladimir Putin. A strong protest was expressed to the ambassador over “the frankly boorish statements of the British leadership regarding Russia, its leader and official representatives of the authorities, as well as the Russian people”, it said in a statement.
- Norway’s foreign minister, Anniken Huitfeldt, has said her nation is not blocking Russian access to Svalbard. On Wednesday, Russia accused Norway of disrupting the delivery of critical supplies and threatened retaliation. Huitfeldt said Norway was not blocking Russian access to the Arctic archipelago, only applying international sanctions, and that Russia had other means to reach its settlements.
- The Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, arrived in Moscow, where he will urge Vladimir Putin to agree to a ceasefire and seek ways to allow the export of grain from Ukraine. Widodo also met with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, on Wednesday during a visit he described as a “manifestation of the Indonesian people’s concern for the situation in Ukraine”.