Ukraine has accused the Russian army of using phosphorus bombs to attack Snake Island in the Black Sea. Moscow’s troops “twice carried out airstrikes with phosphorus bombs” on Friday evening, Ukrainian army chief Valeriy Zalushny wrote on Telegram.
The Russian attacks took place around 6:00 p.m. local time, Saluschny wrote. The phosphorus bombs were dropped by the Russian army’s SU-30 aircraft. The 48-year-old presented a video recording that is intended to prove the bombing. “The only thing the opponent is consistent about is the unchanged ‘accuracy’,” he emphasized ironically, referring to apparently missed throws.
Only on Thursday did the Russian army announce its withdrawal from the Ukrainian island, which it had previously occupied for four months. Moscow had presented this as a “gesture of goodwill”. Kyiv considers the retreat from the island captured by the Russians on the second day of the war as a victory as a result of frequent attacks.
Snake Island is considered a strategically important post for monitoring sea routes in the north-western part of the Black Sea. Russia had tried to install missile and air defense systems on the island, but then withdrew from the island on Thursday. The Russian army spoke of a “gesture of good will”, while Ukraine spoke of an important military victory for its troops.
Phosphorus weapons are not explicitly prohibited under international law; however, a 1980 arms convention outlaws their use against civilians and in urban areas. They can cause severe burns and poisoning.
Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression, Snake Island has been a symbol of the Ukrainian resistance. On the first day of the invasion, the crew of the later sunk Russian warship “Moskva” had asked the Ukrainian border guards stationed on the island to surrender.
“F…k you, Russian warship!” A border guard responded over the radio. A short time later, the Russian army took the island. The Ukrainian soldiers were captured and later released in a prisoner exchange.