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Ukrainian troopers in entrance of the stays of the lighthouse of Zmiinyi island aka ‘Snake island’ (Pierre Bairin/CNN)

Snake Island has a particular place in Ukraine’s folklore, now greater than ever. Its defiant protection – when a Russian warship was famously advised to “go f*** your self” – after which reconquest rallied a nation within the early months of the battle with Russia, puncturing the parable of the invaders’ superiority.

Now, whipped by winter winds, it stays firmly in Ukrainian arms – a speck of rock that has each symbolic and strategic significance.

A CNN workforce grew to become the primary international media to go to the island because it was recaptured in June, and to talk with the commander of the operation that led to its liberation.

Just a few acres of rock and grass, treeless and troublesome to entry, Snake Island, often known as Zmiinyi Island, lies round 30 miles (48 kilometers) off the Ukrainian coast, close to its maritime border with Romania.

Getting there proved difficult: An hour being pitched from wave to wave in a small boat, showered with spray, in sub-freezing temperatures. The Black Sea could be unforgiving, and so can its hazardous shoreline. On the way in which again our dirigible boat received caught on a sandbar, and it took six hours earlier than we have been transferred, one-by-one, to a different vessel within the darkness.

Snake Island is now a desolate place, strewn with wreckage, its few buildings diminished to shells, its half-sunken jetty battered by the tide. It’s a graveyard of costly army {hardware} – and is suffering from unexploded ordnance and mines. This isn’t a spot to be careless.

The CNN workforce noticed not less than 4 totally different sorts of landmines, Russian Pantsir surface-to-air missile programs, and an nearly intact Tor anti-air missile advanced. There was additionally the carcass of a Russian army helicopter that was hit.

Learn extra here.

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