Byriuchyi Island (Бирючий Острів) is not an island. That’s just one of the enigmatic things about this little fragment of Ukraine. Byriuchyi Island is an imposter, a fragment of land that affects island status, but is in fact connected with the Ukrainian mainland. It is the outermost portion of the long, sandy Fedotova Spit, which is joined to the mainland at Kyrylivka, a brash seaside resort well south of Melitopol.
It’s one of those remarkable geographical oddities, a spit that lazily juts out into the Sea of Azov, running in total for over forty kilometres, often no more than 100 metres wide but, at its seaward end, expanding to become about four kilometres across. And it is that outermost portion of the spit which is named Byriuchyi Island.
A rutted road runs down the spit from Kyrylivka to remote Byriuchyi.