A team of 13 Ukrainian border guards who were presumed dead after telling a Russian warship to “go f*** yourself” are reportedly still alive and being held captive, according to Ukraine’s navy.
Ukraine’s naval Facebook account published a post Monday morning to confirm the report.
“Regarding the Marines and border guards, who were taken captive by Russian occupiers on the island of Snake, we are very happy to learn that our brothers are alive,” the report said.
Ukraine’s report also demanded the immediate release of the officers.
“We demand from Russia the immediate release of illegally occupied citizens of Ukraine,” the report added.
On Saturday, the first report began to circulate that said the Snake Island defenders may still be alive.
“We [have a] strong belief that all Ukrainian defenders of Zmiinyi (Snake) Island may be alive,” the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine (SBGSU) said in a statement Saturday, according to the New York Post. A total of 82 officers from the location may be alive.
“Preliminary information that border guards may be dead came before the defenders lost contact,” the report added.
Snake Island sits about 30 miles from the southern tip of the Ukrainian coast in the Black Sea. It’s about 185 miles west of Crimea, the Ukrainian territory that Russia annexed in 2014, CNN reported.
“Though it is only about 46 acres (18 hectares) in size, a report last year from the non-partisan Atlantic Council think tank called it ‘key to Ukraine’s maritime territorial claims’ in the Black Sea,” the report added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had previously announced on Friday that the 13 Ukrainian soldiers who had been reported as dead on Thursday defending Snake Island would be awarded the title of “Hero of Ukraine.”
“On our Zmiinyi Island, defending it to the last, all the border guards died heroically,” Zelensky said. “But [they] did not give up.”
Ukrainian post at Snake Island in the Black Sea told Russian warship to "go fuck yourself" after being told to surrender. The 13 service members were killed pic.twitter.com/2FuKHc04D3
— BNO News (@BNONews) February 24, 2022
“According to a purported audio exchange, as the Russians approached Snake Island, also known as Zmiinyi Island, the Russian officer says: ‘This is a military warship. This is a Russian military warship. I suggest you lay down your weapons and surrender to avoid bloodshed and needless casualties. Otherwise, you will be bombed,’” CNN reported.
“A Ukrainian soldier responds: ‘Russian warship, go f*** yourself,’” the report added.
As of early Monday, at least “102 civilians in Ukraine have been killed since Russia launched its invasion last Thursday, with a further 304 injured, but the real figure is feared to be ‘considerably higher,” Reuters reported.
“Some 422,000 Ukrainians have fled their homeland, with many more displaced within the country,” the report added.
On Friday, the Ukrainian government claimed that Russia has “suffered” about 3,000 troop casualties. The Daily Wire reported Russia’s losses in the short time included:
516 kinds of various military vehicles, 80 tanks, 10 airplanes, and seven helicopters so far on Friday, possibly indicating that the Ukrainian people have had some success against the Russian invaders.The announcement came at approximately 3:00 pm local time and was issued by Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar.
Malyar also told the Ukrainian people, “We are strong! Victory will be ours!” in its effort against the Russian military invasion which began early Thursday morning local time.