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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Russia Abandons Snake Island

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Russian forces abandoned the strategic Black Sea outpost of Snake Island on Thursday, a move that could loosen a Russian grain export blockade threatening to worsen global hunger.

Russia’s defence ministry said it had decided to withdraw from the outcrop as a “gesture of goodwill” that showed Moscow was not obstructing U.N. efforts to open a humanitarian corridor allowing grains to be shipped from Ukraine’s ports.

The bare rocky outcrop controls sea lanes to Odesa, Ukraine’s main Black Sea port, where Russia’s blockade has prevented grain exports from one of the world’s main suppliers, creating a global shortage, price inflation and risk of famine.

“Ukraine’s receipt of Harpoon anti-ship missiles and HIMARS put Russian forces on the island at increasing risk,” wrote Rob Lee, a senior fellow at the U.S.-based Foreign Policy Research Institute wrote on Twitter.

“The most significant aspect is that this could open the door to Ukrainian grain exports from Odesa, which is critical for Ukraine’s economy and for the global food supply.”

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