A group of 13 defiant Ukrainian soldiers may be “alive and well” despite earlier reports they were killed in a Russian attack. When Russia first launched its invasion of Ukraine last week, a Russian warship approached Snake Island, which sits about 21 miles off the coast of Ukraine.
The warship contacted the soldiers stationed on the island and asked them to lay down their arms and surrender.
“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,” a Russian officer told them, according to USA Today.
The Ukrainian soldiers refused to surrender and defiantly responded by saying, “Russian warship, go f*** yourself.”
The Russians followed through with their threat and launched an attack on the island, which is also known as Zmiinyi Island. The Ukrainian Navy said the Russians “completely destroyed the island’s infrastructure: lighthouses, towers, antennas, etc.,” cutting off communication with the soldiers.
Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that the troops had died and said they would be “posthumously awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine.”
It turns out the soldiers may have survived the attack and were taken captive by the Russian troops. The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine posted a statement on Facebook suggesting they were taken to Sevastopol in Crimea.
“We got strong beliefs that all Ukrainian defenders of Zmiiniy Island may be alive,” the agency wrote on Facebook. “The SBGSU and the Armed Forces, like the whole of Ukraine, have received hope that all of Zmiiny’s defenders are alive. Russian media reported that Ukrainian servicemen on the island, who were temporarily occupied by Russia in Sevastopol, had been sent to Sevastopol.”