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Russian troops withdraw from Ukraine's strategic Zmiinyi Island

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KYIV — Russia The Russian Ministry of Defense and the Ukrainian Presidential Office said Thursday that troops had withdrawn from Ukraine's Snake Island, a strategic outpost in the Black Sea.

Russia-occupied Snake Island on the first day of the invasion gained fame when the Ukrainian border guards stationed there refused to request the surrender of Russian warships.

"KABOOM! There are no more Russian troops on Snake Island. Our troops did a great job," Andriy Yermak, head of the office of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine, wrote on Twitter. ..

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that the Russian army had withdrawn from Snake Island, calling it a "goodwill gesture" and carrying out the mission to which the army was assigned. Said.

The Russian ministry added that the move did not hinder the UN's efforts to organize a humanitarian corridor for exporting agricultural products from Ukraine.

Reuters could not immediately verify the Ukrainian and Russian accounts.

On Wednesday, Russia said it was ready to work with the United Nations to combat the risks of the global food crisis after discussions between Foreign Minister Sergei Labrov and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guteres. However, there were no concrete measures. It was announced at that time.

Last month, the British Ministry of Defense said that if Russia could consolidate its position on Snake Island with strategic air and coastal defense cruise missiles, it could dominate the northwestern Black Sea. rice field.

Zelenskiy staff Yermak chief said Ukrainian troops had expelled Russian troops from the island and Russia's claim that the withdrawal was in good faith was not true. rice field.

He reiterated Ukraine's accusations that Russia was causing a global food crisis by blocking Ukrainian ports and targeting storage facilities.

Since Russia's invasion on February 24, Ukrainian grain transport from the Black Sea port has stagnated and millions of tons of grain have been trapped in silos.

Moscow says Kiiff is responsible for removing mines from the harbor to free the transport lane, and western sanctions against it exacerbate the situation.

The first freighter departed Russia-occupied Ukrainian Verdiansk port in the Azov Sea in eastern Ukraine, local officials said Thursday. Grain shipping.

Russia and Ukraine account for almost one-third of the world's wheat supply, Russia is also the world's major fertilizer exporter, and Ukraine is the world's major exporter of corn and sunflower oil.

(Report by MaxHunder writing edited by Alexander Winning by Nick Macfie and Frank Jack Daniel)