A group of Ukrainian warriors are being hailed as heroes over reports that they resisted to the bitter end a Russian warship that threatened their island outpost.
Sailors on the Russian vessel, upon its approach to Snake Island in the Black Sea, identified themselves as being on a “Russian military warship” and told the Ukrainian defenders to “lay down [their] weapons and surrender to avoid bloodshed and needless casualties,” according to a purported recording of the interaction.
The Ukrainian soldiers were warned that they would be bombed if they did not put down their weapons. Unmoved, the Ukrainians' response was, “Russian warship, go f*** yourself.”
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A group of Ukrainian border guards were stationed on Snake Island, in the Black Sea south of Odessa, when a Russian warship ordered them to surrender under threat of attack.— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) February 25, 2022
Their response: "Russian warship, go fuck yourself."
They held their ground. All 13 were killed. pic.twitter.com/GMRsXQRSX0
Thirteen Ukrainian border guards were reportedly killed, according to the Maritime Executive, which focuses on the maritime industry.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the purported incident.
“All border guards died heroically but did not give up,” he said. “They will be awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine posthumously.”
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Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine during a speech that aired early Thursday morning, and within roughly a day, 137 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed and 316 injured, Zelensky announced as his country's forces face attacks from the north, south, and east.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that he is is "convinced" Putin is trying to oust Ukraine's government. Zelensky has been moved to a bunker, according to CNN. The White House declined to provide specifics about his location, though Zelensky did acknowledge that he remains in Kyiv with his central government.
Tensions between Ukraine and Russia escalated rapidly in recent days after Putin recognized two Russia-backed regions in eastern Ukraine as independent entities earlier this week. He also ordered "peacekeeping" troops to go into those areas at the time.