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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UK Special Forces Reportedly Trained Ukrainians in Push for Zmeiny Island

Sputnik News


The island, also known as Snake Island, fell under Russia's control after the start of the special military operation in Ukraine. Moscow abandoned it on June 30 as a "gesture of goodwill", with its Defense Ministry explaining that it wanted to demonstrate that it creates no obstacles to the UN mission to open a grain export corridor from Ukraine.

The UK Royal Navy's Special Boat Service trained Ukrainian service personnel to help retake Zmeiny Island in the Black Sea, which was previously under Russia's control, the Sunday Mirror has reported citing an army source.

According to the newspaper, the Special Boat Service personnel travelled to Ukraine to work with its 73rd Naval Special Purpose Centre in the use of diver propulsion devices, also known as sea scooters. These underwater vehicles allow divers, or Ukrainian frogmen in this case, to cross vast distances underwater mostly undetected.

"The 73rd became the tip of the sword and provided the fighting force that landed on the island. The Ukrainian Special Forces are as tough as they come but what they have missed out on is our specialist kit and training," the source claimed.

The newspaper went on to claim that Ukrainian frogmen reached Zmeiny Island, which is sometimes referred to as Snake Island, on an unknown date surveying it for landmines and signaling for the rest of Ukrainian troops to attack. However, the outlet did not elaborate on any other detail of the purported operation.

Neither Kiev nor Moscow have mentioned any attempt to push Russia off the island using ground force, which lies near key naval paths. On the contrary, Russia announced that its troops would leave the island voluntarily on June 30 as a "gesture of goodwill". The Russian Defense Ministry added that as a result, Kiev would also not be allowed to use the island as a pretext to blame Moscow for Ukraine's failure to export grain.

The first mention of Ukraine sending troops to the island emerged on July 7, long after Russian soldiers had already left. At the time, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Ukrainian soldiers tried to install the country's flag on the island, but that their attempt was cut short by the Russian Air Force, with jets landing an airstrike that killed several Ukrainian service personnel and forced others to flee. It is unclear if the Ukrainian troops that tried to raise the flag were the ones purportedly trained by the UK.

© Sputnik

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