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Russian attacks on Ukraine's coast threaten loss of key naval bases as well as critical shipbuilding facilities

The Russian Navy's Bykov (Project 22160)-class corvette Vasily Bykov, one of two ships involved in the attack on Snake Island. (Michael Nitz/Naval Press Service)

Russian forces captured Zmiinyi (Snake) Island during the first day of its invasion of Ukraine, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine confirmed on 25 February.

The Ukrainian island is located in the Black Sea near the Danube Delta, about 70 n miles from Odessa, and plays an important role in delimiting Ukrainian territorial waters.

During the confrontation with Russia on 24 February, all 13 border guards defending the island were killed, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video message on 25 February.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence confirmed that the attacks on the island were carried out by air and sea, with the ships involved being the Slava (Project 1164)-class cruiser Moskva and the Bykov (Project 22160)-class corvette Vasily Bykov.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Navy continues to defend the southwestern part of the country's Black Sea coast, Ukrainian Armed Forces confirmed on 25 February. The forces are facing simultaneous attacks by Russian forces on the bases and ports of Odessa, Yuzhny, and Ochakiv. A Turkish-owned commercial vessel, Yasa Jupiter , was hit by a bomb off the coast of Odessa on 24 February while on its way to Romania, Turkey's General Directorate of Maritime Affairs stated on its social media account.

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