The Ukrainian soldiers who stood up to Russian forces on Snake Island are actually alive, the Ukrainian Navy stated on Monday.
The soldiers, who were guarding the tiny island in the Black Sea, were believed to have been killed after they refused to surrender to a Russian warship last Friday.
In a video that went viral across social media, the Ukrainian soldiers defied the Russian troops.
The Russian ship tells the Ukrainians in the video: “I suggest you surrender your weapons and capitulate, otherwise I will open fire, do you copy?”
The Ukrainian guards can then be heard saying “This is it”, before they respond with the words: “Russian warship, go f— yourself.”
Here is the audio of the Snake Island encounter between Russian and Ukrainian navy vessels translated to English.
May the 13 brave Ukrainian heroes rest in power.
— KnowNothing (@KnowNothingTV) February 25, 2022
Ukrainian soldiers on Snake Island actually alive, held by Russian troops
People across the world were amazed by the courage and power of what were believed to be the soldiers’ last words. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the guards’ bravery, saying they would all be posthumously awarded honors as war heroes.
“On our island Zmiiny (Snake Island), defending it to the last, all the border guards died heroically. But did not give up,” he said.
“All of them will be posthumously be awarded the title of ‘Hero of Ukraine.’ Eternal memory to those who gave their lives for Ukraine.”
Although the soldiers were believed to be dead, the Ukrainian Navy released a statement on Monday claiming that the troops were “alive and well” and actually were in Russian captivity.
According to the statement, the outnumbered soldiers were able to defend themselves against two Russian attacks but surrendered after they ran out of ammunition.
The soldiers were shown on Russian state media in Sevastopol, Crimea, where they are being held by Russian troops.
While the soldiers’ lives were spared, the Russian army destroyed all infrastructure on the island, which included lighthouses and antennas, according to the Ukrainian Navy.
With a land area of less than one-tenth of a square mile, Zmiinyi Island, otherwise known as Snake Island, is little more than a rock in the Black Sea, according to the Atlantic Council, an international affairs think tank. It lies less than 30 miles off the coast of Ukraine.