Snake Island, also known as Serpent Island or Zmiinyi Island (Ukrainian: острів Змії́ний, romanized: ostriv Zmiinyi; Romanian: Insula Șerpilor; Russian: Змеиный, romanized: Zmeinyy), is an island belonging to Ukraine located in the Black Sea, near the Danube Delta, with an important role in delimiting Ukrainian territorial waters. The island is part of the Chilia district of Odessa region.
Situated on an island town in the Ukraine has the official status of the village (village White). In the village there are Ukrainian post office, museum, bank branch. In the future we plan to build an Orthodox church.
Status of the Snake was of great importance when considering the International Court of Justice of the territorial dispute between Romania and Ukraine on the delimitation of the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone, rich in oil and gas reserves. February 3, 2009 the decision was made, according to which Snake declared the island, not a rock, trying to prove that Romania.
Snake Island is located approximately 35 kilometers to the east coast at the latitude of the Danube Delta. The island of cruciform shape, the area is 20.5 hectares, and the distance between the extreme points - 615 and 560 meters . The nearest town on the coast - the Romanian city of Sulina. The nearest town, Ukraine - the city Vilkovo. Coast of the island, mostly rocky, but there are four beaches: "Ladies," "Dergach", "Gold" and "Gangster".
Migratory birds use the island for rest during seasonal migrations. In the spring, at the Serpent observed to 234 species of birds. Over the Danube Delta which is located opposite the Serpentine, the island is sometimes recorded the snakes, which it owes its name. In the waters surrounding the island are found 49 species of fish and six species of crabs, of which 3 and 4 species respectively listed in the Red Book of Ukraine. Presidential Decree of 09.12.1998 years No E1341/98 «About the territories and objects of nature reserve of national importance" was created obschezoologichesky reserve of national importance "Snake Island", made up of ecologically valuable included part of the island with 500 meters surrounding the Black Sea. The total area of 232 ha nature reserve.
According to Greek legend, the island is lifted from the bottom of the sea goddess Thetis for her son Achilles. The first mention of Snake found in the sources of the end of VII century BC. Oe. where is Lyovka (White). The island is mentioned in the records of Ovid, Strabo and Herodotus. On the Snake was built and later destroyed the temple of Achilles. The ruins of the temple (the square building with sides about 30 feet) were found and described in 1823, and in 1843 a considerable part of building materials from these ruins was used to construct a lighthouse on the island. Since the Middle Ages the island belonged to Turkey.
3 (14) July 1788 near the island, then called Fidonisi, there was a naval battle, in which the Russian fleet defeated.
After the victory of the Russian Empire in the Russian-Turkish war of 1828-1829 Snake went to Russia.
In 1823, cartographer M. Kritsky was made the first map of the island. After Russia's defeat in the Crimean War, Snake became a possession of Romania and on it was placed a disciplinary battalion Romanian Army. During the Second World War in April 1944 on the Snake landing was the Black Sea Fleet, and the Romanian garrison surrendered without a fight. According to the diplomatic agreement signed by Nicholas Shutov (from Soviet Union) and Edward Mezinchesku (from Romania), Snake Island from May 23, 1948 passed in the USSR. In 1956 the island was placed radar defense company, as well as the frontier. In the 1980's on the shelf near the Snake found significant deposits of oil and natural gas, which has led to new claims from Romania to the independent Ukraine, and the requirements of the new delimitation of territorial waters.
In 2002, the Cabinet of Ministers has approved a program of economic activity on the island of Serpents until 2006. As part of the island was handed over to Chilia district of Odessa region, as well as partially demilitarized (Radio-derived unit and removed the radar). On the island were built berth for vessels with draft up to 8 meters, pier, several household buildings were planted trees. We construct a pier for small tonnage of the fleet. In the future, scheduled to open tourism and diving centers, as well as the establishment of regular ferry service from Kiliey. Snake opened for mail, bank branch, "RayffayzenBankAval" repeater of mobile communications. In 2003 the island was set up research station "Snake Island", where scientists are constantly working Odessa National University named after II Mechnikov.
In early 2007, located on an island apartment complex has received the official status of a settlement (the settlement of White, Ukr. Bіle) in the Chilia area. The move provoked an outcry from the Romanian side.
Delimitation of the continental shelf between Ukraine and Romania
September 16, 2004 Romania submitted a memorandum to the International Court of Justice the question of delimitation of the continental shelf in the area. February 3, 2009 International Court of Justice unanimously adopted a compromise solution on the maritime border between the countries. The court found Snake island, had insisted Kiev - Romanian side argued that it is nothing more than a big rock. On the other hand, the court did not recognize the claims of Ukraine, the location of the island that affects the maritime border between the countries, and, according to Romanian representatives, they are in their territorial claims were "80% satisfied." As a result, Snake remained in the status of the Ukrainian territory, and the court itself had the maritime boundary between the two countries, which was agreed and Kiev, and Bucharest.