The operation to liberate Zmiiny Island in the Black Sea has been completed, with the territory returned to the jurisdiction of Ukraine, the Ukrainian military’s South Operational Command reported on July 4.
The head of the press center of the Defense Forces of the South of Ukraine, Natalya Gumenyuk, said at a briefing that the Ukrainian flag had been raised on Zmiinyi island.
“The military operation has been completed and the territory has once again been returned to the jurisdiction of Ukraine,” she said.
The South Operational Command South reported on June 30 that after powerful artillery strikes by the Ukrainian army, the Russian invaders had hastily evacuated the remnants of the occupation garrison on two speed boats and left Zmiinyi Island, a rocky islet in the western Black Sea.
The Russian Ministry of Defense later confirmed that the Russian military had fled from Zmiinyi Island, calling it a "goodwill gesture."
In contrast, the UK Ministry of Defense said that the Russian retreat from the island had in no way been a "goodwill gesture."
The Pentagon also disputed the Kremlin's version of events, noting that Ukrainian forces had been very successful in exerting significant pressure on the Russian forces occupying Zmiinyi island.
According to Forbes, due to the Ukrainian artillery strikes on Zmiinyi, the Russians lost almost a billion dollars’ worth of equipment.