A small piece of land is of strategic importance
The operation, unique in terms of the number of downed planes and helicopters, carried out on May 7-8 in the area of Zmeiny Island, has already been called an “air boiler” for the armed forces of Ukraine ( APU). The MK expert, honored military pilot Vladimir Popov, believes that Kyiv sent huge forces and means to the special operation to seize the island and, nevertheless, was defeated. According to the expert, about 200 Ukrainian servicemen died in this battle.
Photo: Press Service of the Ministry of Defense
The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation reported significant losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine after the fighting in the area of Snake Island. As a result, three Su-24 bombers, an Mi-24 attack helicopter, a Su-27 fighter, three Mi-8 helicopters with troops on board, three Bayraktar drones, a Stanislav landing assault boat of the Ukrainian Navy and project 1241 missile boat.
According to honored military pilot Vladimir Popov, such significant losses indicate that the Armed Forces of Ukraine have been preparing for a long time and carefully to try to recapture the island, which at the beginning of the special operation in Ukraine fell under the control of the Russian military.
“As far as I know, during the night and morning hours, Zmeiny Island was attacked by landing transport boats and a landing helicopter group in order to recapture the island from the Russian armed forces,” said Vladimir Popov. – Our armed forces successfully repelled the attempts of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to land their troops on the island. By the way, the island is not very large – about 20 hectares of rocky ground. There are, of course, shallows, three or four, as we say, beaches, in order to land troops. An airborne assault group was sent to these places at night. But unsuccessful. The air defense forces and means responded quickly and effectively, and our ships, on duty in the Black Sea, were able to approach in time and counter the air assault group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, aviation and the remnants of the Ukrainian navy.
– The fight was quite intense. Ukraine has thrown a lot of forces and means for such a small island and the garrison that stands there as a border outpost. Such attempts are made only when everything is well calculated. The timing was really well chosen. The forces were powerful and well prepared. The situation was serious – our servicemen on the island were in serious danger. The ratio of the number of our military to the enemy was one to three. But we must pay tribute, the forces that were nearby on combat duty in the Black Sea basin reacted very quickly and, thanks to coordinated actions, managed to repel the AFU grouping.
– I think that they are big if the landing craft sank (about the missile boat – there is no exact information yet). Taking into account the boat and helicopters that transported the troops, I think that the losses in personnel are about 200-250 people. At the same time, Ukraine has few ships and boats left, which are now in Odessa ports and near Odessa. These are the remains of the Ukrainian Navy.
– In fact, this island is of great importance. Firstly, several offshore oil and gas condensate fields have been discovered and are being exploited in the offshore area. Production is beneficial for Ukraine and neighboring Romania. Secondly, the island is strategically important for our armed forces. Having taken possession of the island, we blockaded the Black Sea coast in the region of Odessa. Even if we do not take Odessa (as the city territory of Odessa is not very important), it is important for us to get as close and as quickly as possible to Pridnestrovie in order to cut off the main part of Ukraine from the Black Sea coast to ensure the security of our southwestern borders in the sea. Although the island is very small, it is very significant.
– You can, for example, install the Bastion system, S-300 launchers. Well, the ships will be on duty. The island is a very convenient position, sometimes you can moor in the bay and hide from the storm. But, the main thing is that we will cover our territories from NATO influence – and Romania is one of the aggressive NATO countries, which puts forward claims not only to us, but also to Ukraine, Moldova.
– A coincidence is possible. It's just that the Armed Forces of Ukraine managed to prepare for this time. If they had the strength and means earlier, they would have done it earlier. But they did not have the strength and means, and in fact it is necessary to prepare both equipment and personnel for such operations.
– I believe that we have ground no more than 35-40% of the aircraft, the aircraft that they had left after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Armed Forces of Ukraine still have a lot of aviation. According to my calculations, after the collapse of the USSR, more than 2.5 thousand aircraft and helicopters for various purposes remained on the territory of Ukraine. It is clear that not all of them survived to this day. But a few dozen may still remain.