Ukraine's President visits Snake Island to honour soldiers on 500th day of Russian invasion
Zelenskyy honoured soldiers who lost their lives in the war and said Ukraine will win the war
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday visited Snake Island, a symbol of Ukraine's resilience to mark 500 days of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Zelenskyy honoured soldiers who lost their lives in the war and said Ukraine will win the war.
Russian forces took control of Snake Island on February 24, 2022, the day Moscow launched its invasion, in the apparent hope of using it as a staging ground for an assault on Odesa, Ukraine's biggest port and the headquarters of its navy.
The island took on legendary significance for Ukraine's resistance to the Russian invasion when Ukrainian troops there reportedly received a demand from a Russian warship to surrender or be bombed.
The answer supposedly came back, Go (expletive) yourself.
Ukraine has celebrated the story with patriotic fervour, issuing a postage stamp in commemoration.
The island's Ukrainian defenders were captured by the Russians but later freed as part of a prisoner exchange.
After the island was taken, the Ukrainian military heavily bombarded the small Russian garrison there, forcing the Russians to pull back on June 30, 2022.
The Russian retreat reduced the threat of a seaborne Russian attack on Odesa and helped pave the way for a deal to resume Ukrainian grain exports.
The Russian Defence Ministry on Saturday released footage of Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu visited firing ranges where volunteer soldiers are being trained.
Pitched battles along the front line are raging as NATO leaders are set to meet in Vilnius for a two-day summit next week to offer more help in modernising Ukraine's armed forces, create a new high-level forum for consultations and reaffirm that it will join their alliance one day.