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Tipsheet

Ukrainian Military Confirms Soldiers Who Told Russian Warship to 'Go F--k Yourself' Are 'Alive and Well'

AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

The 13 Ukrainian border guards on Snake Island who were initially believed to have been killed after telling a Russian warship to "go f--k yourselves" are still alive, the Ukrainian Navy confirmed Monday.

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The border guards are "alive and well," according to the Ukrainian Navy, but were forced to surrender to the Russians because they were short on ammunition.

"We are very happy to learn that our brothers are alive and well with them! But Russian propaganda tries to twist the 'news' about the fact that the Ukrainian authorities 'forgotten', 'buried' their fellows," Ukraine's Navy said.

"Illegal capture of a civilian ship – a non-combatant without performing any military mission, is a violation of the rules and customs of war, international humanitarian law," the Ukrainian Navy continued. "We demand from Russia the immediate release of illegally occupied citizens of Ukraine." 

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that the soldiers were killed after a Russian warship approached Snake Island and demanded they surrender or risk being killed.

"I am a Russian warship," a Russian aboard the ship told the soldiers on the island. "I ask you to lay down your arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed and unnecessary deaths. Otherwise, you will be bombed."

One Ukrainian soldier responded, "Russian warship, go f--k yourself."

The Ukrainian military lost communication with the border guards after a Russian attack and they were believed to have been killed.

The island's infrastructure was destroyed and is now under Russian control, according to the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. 

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The crew of a Ukrainian Sapphire civilian ship sent to the island to help the victims of the attack were also captured by the Russians, Ukrainian officials said. 

Zelenskyy said each of the border agents would be posthumously awarded the title, "Hero of Ukraine."

The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine released a statement to social media Saturday saying that it had a "strong belief" that the Snake Island border agents were still alive after Russian media outlets reported that the soldiers had been captured and transported to Sevastopol on the Russian-controlled Crimea Peninsula but were not killed.

We [have a] strong belief that all Ukrainian defenders of Zmiinyi (Snake) Island may be alive. The SBGSU and the Armed Forces, like the whole of Ukraine, have received hope that all of Zmiiny's defenders are alive," The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine wrote. "Russian media reported that Ukrainian servicemen on the island, who were temporarily occupied by Russia in Sevastopol, had been sent to Sevastopol. Preliminary information that border guards may be dead came before the defenders lost contact.

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