Ukraine accuses Russia of dropping phosphorus bombs on Serpents Island




White phosphorus bombs were used in conflicts such as World War I

White phosphorus bombs were used in conflicts such as World War I

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Ukrainian military on Friday accused Russia of having attacked Serpents Island with phosphorus bombs a day after the country’s forces withdrew from the scene.

“Russian Air Force SU-30 planes carried out two attacks with phosphorus bombs against Serpent Island,” the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valerii Zaluzhny, wrote on Telegram, saying the aircraft took off from a base in Crimea.

The Russians left the island on Thursday, and the Moscow government said the departure was a “goodwill gesture” to demonstrate a willingness not to interfere with UN efforts to facilitate Ukrainian grain exports.

According to Zaluzhny, the bombings on the Isle of Serpents are proof that Russia “does not respect its own declarations”.

Phosphorus bombs are incendiary weapons that are forbidden to use against civilians, but not against military targets.

Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of using phosphorus bombs against civilians since the beginning of the invasion of its territory, but Moscow has always denied using these devices.

Of great strategic importance, located in the northeast of the Black Sea, in an area of ​​important mercantile shipping routes, the Isle of Serpents became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance after the guards defending it refused to surrender through a radio message that became internationally famous.

US rules out alleged Russian ‘goodwill’

The US Department of Defense on Friday ruled out that Russia’s withdrawal from Serpents Island was related to a “goodwill gesture”.

“We attribute this development to the fact that the Ukrainians were very successful in applying significant pressure on the Russians, including using Harpoon missiles they recently acquired to attack a resupply ship,” said a US Defense Department official.

According to him, the Ukrainians made it very difficult for the Russians to sustain their operations there and made them very vulnerable to Ukrainian attacks. “So, of course, that’s why Russia left the island,” he concluded.

“Russian Terrorism”

In his video speech released late on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Friday’s Russian missile attacks on a residential building and recreation center on the outskirts of the port city of Odessa, which left 21 dead and dozens injured.

“Three missiles hit an ordinary residential building, a nine-story building in which no one hid weapons, military equipment or ammunition, as Russian propagandists and officials always talk about these attacks,” Zelensky said.

The Ukrainian president called the attack “deliberate and purposeful Russian terrorism”, stressing that it was not “mistakes or an accidental missile attack”.

Zelensky also said he is grateful to the United States and personally to US President Joe Biden for the new Ukraine support package announced on Friday, which includes NASAMS surface-to-air missile systems. “An anti-aircraft missile complex that will significantly strengthen our air defense. We work hard for this supply. In total, this package is worth 820 million dollars and, in addition to NASAMS, it also includes artillery ammunition and radars,” Zelenski said.

md (AFP, DPA, Reuters, AP)

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