Su-30 fighter jets drop phosphorus bombs on Snake Island.
Ukraine’s army has accused Russia of carrying out attacks using incendiary phosphorus munitions on Snake Island, just a day after Moscow withdrew its forces from the rocky outcrop in the Black Sea.
Two sorties of Russian Su-30 fighter jets dropping phosphorus bombs were flown over the island from the Russian-controlled Crimean Peninsula, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army, Valerie Zaluzhnyi, said on Telegram on Friday.
There was no immediate comment from the Russian Defence Ministry. Russia seized three Ukrainian navy ships and their crews off the coast of Crimea in November, sparking a major crisis in relations between the two countries. The incident took place near the Kerch Strait, a narrow waterway between the Black Sea and the Azov Sea that is used by both countries’ navies.
Tensions have been high since Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and its support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. More than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
The Ukrainian army has accused Russia of violating its own commitments, after Russian planes allegedly dropped phosphorus bombs on Zmiinyi island.
The Russian defence ministry had announced that it was withdrawing its forces from the island, in what it described as a “gesture of goodwill” designed to demonstrate that Moscow would not interfere with UN-led efforts to facilitate grain exports from Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea.
However, the Ukrainian army has now accused Russia of conducting air strikes on the island using phosphorus bombs, just hours after the Russian withdrawal was announced.
The army said in a statement that the strikes had occurred at around 18:00, and denounced them as a “flagrant violation” of Russia’s commitments.
The latest development is likely to further escalate tensions between the two countries, which have been locked in a conflict for years.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has released video footage that it says shows Russia’s military forces firing on and destroying one of its artillery pieces in the disputed Kerch Strait. The ministry said the incident took place on Sunday morning, and accused Russia of ‘open aggression.’ The video shows a plane drop munitions at least twice on the island, and what appeared to be white streaks rising above it. There has been no comment from the Russian Ministry of Defense so far. This incident comes amidst escalating tensions in the region, following Russia’s seizure of three Ukrainian navy ships and their crews last week.
Phosphorus weapons, also known as white phosphorus munitions, are incendiary weapons that are designed to create a signature white trail in the sky. These weapons are banned for use against civilians under an international convention, but their use is allowed against military targets. Phosphorus munitions are effective at creating fires and smoke screens, and they can also be used as an incendiary weapon. When used in this way, phosphorus weapons can cause severe burns and injuries. In addition, phosphorus munitions can be extremely dangerous if they come into contact with skin or Clothing. Therefore, it is important for people to be aware of the dangers of these weapons and to take precautions when around them.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, there have been several allegations that Moscow has used phosphorus bombs in the conflict. Phosphorus bombs are highly incendiary weapons that can cause severe burns and ignite fires that are difficult to extinguish. In March, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry released a statement accusing Russia of using phosphorus bombs in civilian areas. Moscow has denied these allegations. However, given the high level of violence on Snake Island in recent days, it is clear that both sides are willing to use any means necessary to gain control of the strategic site. As the fighting continues, it is important to monitor the situation closely to ensure that international humanitarian law is not being violated.