A Russian warship radioed to 13 Ukrainian border guards on Snake Island in the Black Sea, telling them to surrender Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, and leaving them no alternative. Screenshot from Twitter.
A group of 13 Ukrainian border guards alone on a remote island in the Black Sea held their position Thursday, Feb. 24, as a Russian warship demanded they surrender. Their final radio call: “Go fuck yourself.”
The Russians killed them.
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But by the end of the first day of the Russian invasion, the guards’ final act of defiance had already become a national rallying cry. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed in an evening message to the nation that all 13 of the Snake Island, or Zmiinyi, border guards “died heroically,” according to Ukrayinska Pravda.
“But they did not give in,” Zelenskyy said. “All of them will be awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine posthumously. Eternal memory to those who gave their lives for Ukraine.”
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Coffee or Die Magazine confirmed the translation of an audio clip circulated online of the final radio calls, in which a voice identifies itself as a “Russian warship,” and states: “I suggest you lay down your weapons and surrender to avoid bloodshed and needless victims. Otherwise, you will be shelled.”
The soldiers’ response: “Russian warship, go fuck yourself.”
In a five-second video shared via livestream, a Ukrainian soldier shared the moment between the Russian warship opening fire and him hitting the ground.
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Noelle is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die through a fellowship from Military Veterans in Journalism. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and interned with the US Army Cadet Command. Noelle also worked as a civilian journalist covering several units, including the 75th Ranger Regiment on Fort Benning, before she joined the military as a public affairs specialist.
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