A general view of Snake Island, Ukraine, in this handout still image obtained by Reuters on June 30, 2022. Ukraine Operational Command South/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT

The Russian military has announced its withdrawal from the fiercely contested Snake Island in the Black Sea. “On June 30, as a step of goodwill, the Russian Armed Forces completed their assigned tasks on Snake Island,” the Russian Defense Ministry said. The withdrawal has now been confirmed by the Ukrainian side.

By withdrawing from the island not far from the Danube Delta, Russia wants to show that it is not hindering the efforts of the United Nations to organize a humanitarian corridor for the export of agricultural products from Ukraine, said spokesman Igor Konashenkov.

“This decision will no longer allow Kyiv to speculate about an imminent food crisis and say that it is impossible to export grain because Russia has total control over the north-west Black Sea,” the ministry spokesman added.

The Ukrainian army had previously announced that it had attacked the occupied island. A short-range air defense system of the type Pantsir-S1 was destroyed, said the South Command on Thursday night on Facebook.

Snake Island, which lies in the north-western part of the Black Sea near the Ukrainian and Romanian coasts, was captured by the Russian army at the start of its offensive in February. Since then, Ukrainian forces have repeatedly launched attacks using combat drones and aircraft, and sank the cruiser Moskva (Moscow) with rockets.