Ukraine War Day #121: Return To Snake Island (continued)

Dear Readers:

First a quick update from the front, and then we need to return to our analysis, why Snake Island is so important, and why the Ukrainians will continue to attack it and try to take it back.

Yesterday we talked about the “perfect cauldron” painted by the Russian General Staff, in the Gorskoe-Zolotoe area of Luhansk. Today some results are in. According to Russian sources (TASS), Ukrainian forces lost around 1,000 soldiers, killed. Over 800 taken prisoner, of which many are injured and will need significant medical help. Those numbers are shocking, I can’t even fathom it, and now an even much larger cauldron is being formed around Lisichansk itself. For the love of god, this madness needs to stop soon. The Ukrainians need to overthrow their government and hasten to the bargaining table, it’s the only way…

Okay, now back to Snake Island. Where we left off: Reporters Andrei Rezchikov and Darya Volkova were about to explain to us the strategic importance of this piece of rock in the Black Sea. Because I know that a lot of readers are very skeptical about this and don’t think it’s worth all the effort. That’s it’s just some PR stunt on the part of Ukrainians and Americans, to deflect from more important issues.

Why Is Snake Valuable?

This rock has an area of .205 square kilometers. [Note the decimal point.] There are no trees on it. And yet, it is a strategically important object, located quite close to the maritime boundary separating Ukraine from Romania. The reporters interviewed a man named Vladimir Gundarov, who is a retired Naval Captain. He is quoted a lot, all over the news, but I couldn’t find a photo of him. (Maybe he has to hide his face, because it’s hideous, like the Phantom of the Opera?) Anyhow, this is what he had to say about the strategic importance of this tiny island:

The most important rock in the world?

“From this point one can control all the shipping lanes in this region. It is impossible for any ship to sneak by, undetected. For example, a vessel sailing from Ukraine to Romania, or to Bulgaria; or vice versa. It is even possible to control the approach of vessels from the Southeastern sector of the sea, for example from Turkey to Odessa, Ochakova, Nikolaev.”

Control of Snake Island also ensures control of the mouth of the Danube and the aquatorian shore to the South of Odessa Oblast. From this rock one can monitor both air and sea; one can intercept planes and ships. Therefore it is not surprising that in the days of the USSR, a radiolocation company of anti-air forces, was stationed here. Another expert, named Maxim Klimov (also a retired Captain, and also hides his face), adds his opinion: If the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) had continued to hold Snake Island, then this would have permitted them to threaten the entire Russian Black Sea fleet, thanks to American Harpoon missiles. “This new modification to the Harpoon,” Klimov points out, “would permit it to land missiles from Snake Island all the way to Sebastopol.” It logically follows that Sebastopol would fall under Ukrainian fire control, if a Harpoon battery were to be installed on Snake Island.

An epic battle between a crow and a snake.

Ulp! Okay, he convinced me!

Given all of this, it is no accident that the Russian Black Sea fleet seized Snake Island on the very second day of the Special Operation. They had their shopping list, and they knew their priorities. One recalls (from those glory days in the misty past, when the war was still young) the story of those young and green Ukrainian soldiers guarding the island. There were around 80 of them. And they had the right idea: They immediately surrendered to the Russians without a fight, were loaded into buses, each man given a boxed lunch, and subsequently traded for Russian POWs. And that should have been that. But nooooo… The Ukrainians continue to obsess over Snake Island, well, they and their American curators do understand how important this rock is. And so they continue to attack it, and will continue to attack it, over and over. Russian air defenses are good, but they can’t necessarily block everything raining down. Even the best hockey goalie, every now and then, lets a puck through.

Given this fact, Gundarov notes, philosophically, that the island will remain vulnerable to Ukrainian attack until such time as “the problem solves itself”, namely after the Russian army takes Nikolaev and Odessa.

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15 Responses to Ukraine War Day #121: Return To Snake Island (continued)

  1. colliemum says:

    Looking at the images of Snake island, I wondered what the geology would be like because it looks like a pillow. So I went to the source of all knowledge, wiki*), and found some more interesting historical stuff. Turns out this island used to be Romanian, and that in a post WWII Treaty it was ceded to (Soviet) Russia.
    The Romanians later got into a spat about this with the Ukraine in the early 2000s, but both sides decided to keep things as they were.
    The mind boggles at the thought of what might have happened at the start of the SMO had Snake Island gone back to Romania which is a NATO country …

    *) link:


    • yalensis says:

      Wow, so things turned out quite well that Romania didn’t get it, after all.
      As things stand now, Russia and Romania are about to become neighbors anyhow, so hopefully the peaceful accord can continue. Maybe Russia can toss Romania a bone in return, like allowing them to build a tourist B&B on the island.


      • colliemum says:

        Nah – there’s no water on the island and not much to see, nor are there nice beaches. There don’t even seem to be sheep on it … and given that electricity would be rationed and above all reception for smartphones would be extremely limited: what would the poor tourists do? Chase snakes?


        • yalensis says:

          Admittedly, there isn’t a lot to do there. But they could put something together in the way of an “adventure excursion” to find Achilles’ tomb. Then turn it into an “escape room” kind of thing. Also, some yoga in the mornings, and then maybe a boat ride in the afternoon. Also a walking tour led by a zoologist, searching for different species of snakes. You just have to think creatively, what will attract the tourists!


  2. Liborio Guaso says:

    That last detail must have been decisive in the Russian decision to occupy the rock.


  3. S Brennan says:

    Romania as it exists today is creation of WW I and a despicable president. I speak of course of the venerated racist Woodrow Wilson.

    The Democratic party has spent the last 45 years excising FDRism from the party and reverting to the party of Woodrow Wilson. For the record I note, IKE, JFK, Johnson..even Nixon/Ford was, for all intensive purposes, a continuation of FDRism. Until Jimmy Carter, the party, the country remained faithful to FDRism, it was Carter, not Reagan who was first to turn away from FDR’s Five Freedoms

    Anyhow, back to that venerated racist creature Woodrow Wilson and Romania, after WW I Woodrow Wilson held an imperial court and along side-ish with France and Britain decided who were the winners and the losers.

    I note here that the court did such a good job adjudicating the matter that twenty years later, the entire case was re-litigated…at the cost of some 85 millions souls. Indeed, that venerated racist creature Woodrow Wilson decisions continue to vex the world to this day but, that’s okay, Democrats rejection of FDRism in favor that racist is now unquestioned doctrine…hence the mayhem.

    Anyway, from Britanica: “As a result of WW I, Greater Romania…came into being. The acquisition of Transylvania and Banat from Hungary, Bukovina from Austria, and Bessarabia from Russia, the country’s territory was doubled. Romania’s population also doubled to more than 16 million and it now included substantial minorities, particularly Hungarians in Transylvania and Jews in Bessarabia”. And then…the Romania government immediately set about persecuting all these minorities.

    And this from a country that failed miserably at war, quit the war and rejoined on the side that was winning to get the spoils. What did I say yesterday about how their is a special place in hell for those who engage in betrayal. Romania is part of NATO for the Black Sea basing rights and is considered completely disposable. And given how loosely NATO plays with the former Eastern Block Countries, Romanians may yet see the Devils fire, they live on borrowed time. The history of modern Romania reminds me of an old tag line from Bob Dylan.

    If Russia played the game like the DC/London crowd they’d light a match under this ethnic pile, stand back and see if Romania would burn itself down. On a more peaceful note, if they had any consideration for their interned countrymen, the Slovaks, the Hungarians, the Austrians, the Poles would make common cause with Russia and redraw the map to erase that venerated racist creature’s Imperial Decisions.


    • yalensis says:

      Excellent historical analysis. I must admit I am not fond of Romanians myself, especially after I read some things about what they did to their Jewish minority in Bessarabia, when Hitler was at the gates. It was quite horrifying. It’s one thing to decide that a certain minority need to be expelled or exterminated, that’s bad enough. If you must be a genocidal fascist, then please just line people up and shoot them, so they die quickly. But that wasn’t the Romanian way. (Nor the Polish, if truth be told.) In their pogroms, the Romanians literally tortured and raped people for hours and even days before finally offing them. And everybody joined in on the fun, including women and children.When the Nazis arrived a few days later, they were actually repulsed by the cruelty of the Romanians. A lot of the Germans just planned to kill the Jews, but to them it was more like putting a dog down, they didn’t see the point of tormenting them for such a long period of time.

      On that note, about a week ago I was watching a youtuber named Emil Cosman, he did some analysis of the Ukraine war which I found pretty good. I jumped to the conclusion that he was Italian, based on his accent and the way he mimed and gestured with his hands, like Italians do. I like Italians, and I thought Emil was cute and funny.

      After watching a couple of his shows I found out that he was Romanian, not Italian. Okay, whatever, I didn’t turn against him, just because of that. But then my spidey-sense got alerted when he did this rant against Jews (couching in code-language so youtube wouldn’t ban him), and it became apparent to me not only that he was a fascist, but that he literally couldn’t distinguish between a Rothschild banker Jew and your ordinary Jewish baker who lives down the street. He made it clear that he thinks they ALL deserve to die violent deaths, ALL Jews. Which include a few of my own friends and acquaintances, not to mention some other youtubers I respect such as Max Blumenthal, for example.
      After that, I stopped watching Emil. I am anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian myself, but I have no time for Jew-haters who are incapable of making any distinctions.


      • S Brennan says:

        Yalensis, thank you,

        I have to be careful though, I do not dislike all Romanians, I’ve met a few from the massive diaspora undertaken by the Romanian government after that venerated racist, Woodrow Wilson gave the lucre of WW I to Romania. Not for their pathetic effort during WW I, oh no. Romania was rewarded massive amounts of territory for being an unworthy, flattering acolyte of Woodrow Wilson. And then as kids say, genocide ensued.

        Isn’t odd that twenty years later, Romania choose the Nazis over their American benefactors? Betrayal at every turn !

        Pro-tip: Eschew unworthy, flattering, acolytes !


        • yalensis says:

          Thanks, S. I hadn’t known about the history with Woodrow Wilson, that is very interesting. I imagine the Romanians picked the Nazis over the Americans because of (a) geography and (b) shared ideology including authoritarianism, anti-Semitism, etc.


    • Eric says:

      Excellent post! Romanian politicians at least today, don’t seem to take part in the rabid nonsense of the other EU states against Russia – at least verbally. In practice I can’t see them moving in to Moldova if Russia takes Transnistria.
      Yalensis has often given a spirited defense of Lenin’s redrawing land borders of plenty of modern nations. I sometimes wonder how it is that none of these imbeciles in the likes of Poland, Lithuania, Romania and yes, Ukraine, give Stalin any credit whatsoever for his decisions on borders than have greatly benefited all of them. Nobody is saying they should erect statues to Stalin. but they should be able to come with a more balanced view . For these countries, in particular Poland, as bad as the “bad” is with Stalin, the good is why Poland is still alive today.

      I wonder in Lithuanian schools during history class how they palm away the incredibly uneasy fact that Vilnius is with them solely because of Stalin’s decision.


      • yalensis says:

        Great points, Eric. Despite my beefs against Stalin (which are for reasons other than land-drawing), I do give the guy credit for his creative geographical skills. In fact, that was always one of Koba’s specialties, which is why Lenin relied on him a lot for the nationalities issues. When drawing boundaries, the Bolsheviks would try to take into account many factors, including geography (mountains, rivers, etc.), fair sharing of water and other resources, language of course, history, shared cultures, etc. And sometimes, as in the case of the Donbass, there was of course some social engineering involved, like making sure there were enough proletarians to counter-weigh the anti-Communist peasantry.

        In any case, I believe the Bolsheviks usually made an attempt to be fair. Compare this with colonial powers like Britain who deliberately attempted to tick people off and sow discord among nationalities.


  4. lou strong says:

    You made me curious about this Bosman, as I’m Italian.
    IMO he got quite an Italian face, which is not so common at least from my personal experience with the hundred thousands Romanian immigrants who live in Italy.
    It’s true he gestures with hands but he shows no particular Italian code of gesturing.
    Kind of reminds me something like a stereotypical Hollywood movie Italoamerican , which is in turn different from Italoamericans I could observe in New York.
    BTW,fully agree with your last sentence.


    • yalensis says:

      Small correction: Cosman, not Bosman. But thanks for your Italian insights, lou, it’s very helpful.

      E io a lui: «Poeta, io ti richeggio
      per quello Dio che tu non conoscesti,
      acciò ch’io fugga questo male e peggio,

      che tu mi meni là dov’ or dicesti,
      sì ch’io veggia la porta di san Pietro
      e color cui tu fai cotanto mesti.»


  5. lou strong says:

    Yes, Cosman and not Bosman. Bosman was a good Belgian soccer player of the past,but nothing to do with my all time hero Garrincha 🙂


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