Ukraine Claims Russia Lost Nearly $1B in Equipment During Snake Island Battle

Ukraine has said that Russia lost nearly $1 billion worth of equipment and troops while unsuccessfully trying to hold on to Snake Island.

They released footage of their two-month operation against the Russians, as well as a detailed statement explaining how they retook the iconic island.

The footage was obtained from Operational Command "South" of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, along with a statement saying: "On Zmiiny [also known as Snake Island], the creation of a system of air defense and fire damage using rocket salvo systems were aimed at ensuring control over the sea and sky in that area of the Black Sea.

"In the same methodical and planned manner as the occupiers equipped their garrison, our defense forces combined their forces to counteract this."

Battle for Snake Island Ukraine
Ukraine has said that Russia lost nearly $1 billion worth of equipment and troops while unsuccessfully trying to hold on to Snake Island. @okPivden/Zenger

The Ukrainian military body added: "The operation lasted more than two months. It was a whole complex and cascade of management decisions, calculations of forces and means, a collection of data on the situation and the use of various weapons and equipment, calculating the tactics and strategy of the enemy, and building up our own, more effective, expedient, often non-standard ones.

"A group of disparate forces from the Navy, a squadron of Bayraktar [Turkish drones], the Air Force, missile forces and artillery, units from the State Border Service, and from the intelligence SBU Security Service, as well as other units from the 'Alexandria' operational-strategic group of troops were involved in the operation."

They explained: "The operation had several stages. First of all, cutting off the ways of logistical support, targeting the ship-boat depot, supply vessels and equipment, with which the enemy tried to equip the garrison.

"At this stage, the accurate work of the 'Bayraktar' UAVs and the use of partner armed assistance and domestic technologies affected four high-speed 'Raptor' patrol boats, a high-speed amphibious 'Serna' fast landing craft, the 'Admiral Essen' frigate was significantly damaged, and the new modern tugboat 'Lifeguard Vasiliy Bekh' was 'transferred to the submarine fleet'.

"Nevertheless, according to intelligence, about three dozen pieces of equipment were delivered to the island: a Tor-M2 and a TZM SAM [surface-to-air missile] system, four 'Pantsir-S1' [self-propelled anti-aircraft missile and artillery systems], two 'Grad' and 'Tornado-G' [multiple rocket launcher vehicles], one BBM [armored fighting vehicle], three military vehicles, two diesel generators and about one and a half dozen objects carefully disguised with a [camouflage] net.

"After the sinking of the [Russian] 'Moskva' [guided missile cruiser], which provided cover for the naval group at sea with its anti-aircraft defense, the Russians decided to create a stationary cruiser on the island, so to speak.

"But a balanced and careful study of the situation, powerful planning and preparation for the most active stage yielded results.

"The command post, obstacle and reconnaissance equipment, which the occupying forces had placed on stolen drilling rigs in the Odesa gas field, were suddenly and accurately hit. In addition to the losses themselves, this also made a convincing impression on the enemy about the desperation and true capabilities of the defense forces of southern Ukraine.

"In the conditions of the enemy's air and missile attacks, radio-electronic suppression, limited maneuvering of its artillery weapons, the purpose of the operation was achieved through constant fire, disruption of logistical support between the mainland and the enemy's garrison on the island, which was carried out by sea, and the demoralization of the enemy's personnel.

"The enemy left Snake Island, destroying missile devices that were not hit."

They added: "The total losses of the Russian occupying forces around the island amount to more than $900 million."

The images and the statement were also relayed by the Office of Strategic Communications (StratCom) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Russia abandoned Snake Island in the Black Sea after being repeatedly pummeled by Ukrainian ordnance. Ukraine then released images showing the Ukrainian flag flying once more over the island.

The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valery Zaluzhny, previously said: "Unable to withstand the fire of our artillery, missile and air strikes, the occupiers left Snake Island."

However, the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed via state media that they had left Snake Island as a "gesture of goodwill," saying "On June 30, the Russian Armed Forces made a gesture of goodwill and completed the tasks on Zmiinyi [Snake] Island and withdrew the garrison that was there."

But Andriy Yermak, head of the presidential administration of Ukraine, derided the Russian statement, saying that "all this is a complete fake," adding that "the Ukrainian Armed Forces drove the Russians out of Snake Island."

Snake Island made international headlines at the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 when a group of Ukrainian soldiers famously told a Russian warship that was demanding their surrender that it could "go f**k itself."

The Russian warship is said to have demanded: "Snake Island, I, Russian warship, repeat the offer: put down your arms and surrender, or you will be bombed. Have you understood me? Do you copy?"

But the Ukrainians replied: "Russian warship, go f**k yourself."

The Russians then opened fire on the Ukrainian positions. It was at first thought that the Russians had pounded the Ukrainian soldiers into oblivion but it later emerged that they survived. They were detained by the Russians and regained their freedom during a prisoner exchange in late March before being given medals for their bravery.

The ship that asked the Ukrainians to surrender, the Moskva, was later damaged and sank, with the Ukrainians claiming that it had been hit by their Neptune anti-ship missiles. The Russians, however, claimed that a fire on board had caused the ship's munitions to explode and that it sunk while being towed to port.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what the Kremlin is still calling a "special military operation." Tuesday marks the 139th day of the invasion.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between February 24 and July 12, Russia had lost about 37,470 personnel, 1,649 tanks, 3,829 armored combat vehicles, 838 artillery units, 247 multiple launch rocket systems, 109 air defense systems, 217 warplanes, 188 helicopters, 676 drones, 155 cruise missiles, 15 warships, 2,699 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 66 units of special equipment.

Other developments in the Russia-Ukraine war:

Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov has hinted at plans to put together a "million-strong army" equipped with NATO weaponry to fight Russian troops, but the comments have been viewed more as a rallying cry than a concrete plan.

Russia is making gains in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region and is continuing to hit areas across Ukraine with missile strikes.

Reznikov has said that Western weaponry needs to be delivered to Ukraine faster. He said that for every day that they have to wait for howitzers to arrive, they can lose up to 100 soldiers.

At least 34 people are now confirmed dead after a Russian missile hit an apartment building in the city of Chasiv Yar in eastern Ukraine. Emergency workers continue to sift through the rubble looking for survivors.

At least six people died after Russian rockets hit Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, on Monday, and Oleksandr Syenkevych, the mayor of Mykolaiv, in southwestern Ukraine, said that at least four people were injured by shelling Tuesday morning.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of Ukraine's eastern region of Donetsk, has said that 80 percent of civilians have fled, with about 340,000 people remaining.

Germany and the Czech Republic have signed a joint declaration vowing to overcome their dependency on Russian fossil fuel and to speed up the transition to low carbon energy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree that makes it easier for Ukrainian citizens to acquire Russian citizenship.

The Kremlin has said that Putin plans to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after they discussed how to facilitate the export of grain from Ukraine.

The United States has warned that Iran plans to supply Russia with drones. White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that intelligence suggests Iran is making preparations to train Russian troops to use its drones.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.