Russia withdraws from Ukraine’s Snake Island

Russia’s defense ministry announced Thursday its withdrawal from Ukraine’s Snake Island.

Russia had used the Black Sea island near the port city of Odesa as a staging ground after seizing it in the early stages of the war it launched in late February.

Thursday’s announcement came after attacks by Ukrainian forces against Russia’s positions on the island.

Russia said its move was a “goodwill gesture” and showed that it was not getting in the way of U.N. efforts to establish a corridor for exporting Ukrainian grain products.

The head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy’s office, Andriy Yermak, confirmed the withdrawal of Russian forces from the island. “No Russian troops on the Snake Island anymore. Our Armed Forces did a great job,” Yermak said in a Twitter post.

Also Thursday, Britain announced another $1 billion in aid for Ukraine.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said the money would go toward air defense systems, uncrewed aerial vehicles and vital equipment for Ukrainian troops.

“It represents the first step in enabling Ukraine to go beyond their valiant defense against the illegal Russian invasion to mounting offensive operations against Russian ground forces in order to restore Ukrainian sovereignty,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he is grateful for the security assistance, calling Britain a “true friend and strategic partner.”

“We appreciate the consistent, leadership support in countering Russian aggression,” Zelenskyy tweeted.

•PHOTO: Ukraine’s Snake Island