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:
“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.
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.