Kyrylo Budanov: Without regaining control over Zmeiiny Island, the Russians would destroy us economically

This Wednesday, the screening of the second film of the documentary trilogy “Military intelligence of Ukraine: on the sea, in the sky, on the ground” took place on the air of the national telethon of the Single News #UA Together:

“Without the restoration of control over Zmiiny Island, any shipping from the ports of Ukraine was impossible. Without it, the Russians would destroy us economically.” – the head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Kyrylo Budanov, said in the film.

The key to liberating the island was the sinking on April 13, 2022 of the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy, the cruiser “Moskva” by the impact of two anti-ship missiles of the new Ukrainian mobile coastal complex RK-360MC Neptune:

“The sinking of the missile cruiser “Moskva”, the destruction of several amphibious ships, enemy boats, in general, the disruption of the logistics of Zmiiny (Snake) Island — all this subsequently influenced the liberation of this island from the invaders. This applies to the marine component. As for the air component, these are our famous Bayraktars of naval aviation, which worked from the first days of the war, starting from the Kherson region, and for the first time, Ukraine used them in combat for naval purposes,” says the commander of the Naval Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Vice Admiral Oleksiy Neizhpapa.

In the film, for the first time, exclusive footage of the flight, landing from helicopters and combat operations on the island, which were conducted on May 8, 2022 by the special-purpose groups of the Defence Intelligence and “Alpha” of the SSU, was shown for the first time.

Yevhen Solovyov, the commander of the helicopter crew of the army aviation of the Ground Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Hero of Ukraine, spoke about the most difficult moments of the operation:

“When we flew to Zmiiny, it was 37 km from the nearest point, but it was an open water surface. The helicopter can be heard 8-10 kilometers away if there is no wind. That is, we will be heard in advance, and we will be seen in advance. We will be seen and heard at a bigger distance before we can carry out fire damage on the island. And it was the most difficult because eight lower helicopters are like in the palm of your hand…” comments Yevhen Solovyov.

“The most difficult thing is making a decision. I call it “coming to terms with myself.” If you have already agreed with yourself on various types of arguments… At that time, there were a minimum of arguments. Everyone understood this was a difficult operation, but no one could say no, because no one would say no. And that’s all.” — says the commander of the special purpose unit of the Defence Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine with the call sign “Shaman”.

In the film, the commander of one of the special purpose assault groups of the Defence Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine with the call sign “Skin” told about the desperate resistance of the Russians on the island to the Ukrainian fighters:

“There were many buildings. They had nowhere to hide, they moved very quickly, they did not sit in one place, they constantly changed positions, they were preparing for defense. This was their island, which they had been to more than once. I’ll tell you, it was quite an epic battle… The island can be captured if you have an advantage in firepower, which it showed later. So? It was simply wiped off the face of the earth, and then they drove a bunch of people there, turntables, everything else – they were simply multiplied by zero, and that was it. And they made a gesture of goodwill, let’s say so.”

All eight helicopters that flew to Zmiiny (Snake) Island carried out rocket fire and landed groups of special forces on the island, returned to the bases unharmed. But near the shores of Odessa, at the mouth of the Danube, a Russian Su-30 fighter jet shot down a Mi-14 naval helicopter, in which, in particular, the deputy commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel Igor Bedzai, was killed.

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