In a viral video circulating on Twitter, users can listen to the audio of a reported Russian destroyer threatening the13 Ukrainian border guardsmen. The men responded to the Russians who were threatening to ‘blow them up’ if they didn’t disarm by simply saying, “go f**k yourself”.
The men were believed to be dead but in a turn of events, the Ukrainian Navy confirmed that they were taken prisoner by the Russians.
According to Euro News, Russia had denied allegations that the 13 Ukrainian soldiers were killed by air and sea strikes. Russian state TV later showed what it claimed was footage of the soldiers alive in custody, but the footage could not be independently verified.
“We are very happy to learn that our brothers are alive and everything is well with them,” it said in a statement.
The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine (SBGSU) had also u-turned and suggested that the 13 border guards may still be alive.
Kyiv said that the island’s communications and infrastructure had been “completely destroyed” by Russian “occupiers,” making it harder to find out what had happened to the soldiers.
Like I said, the original interaction went viral. The audio played was a reported Russian warship ordering the guardsmen on Snake Island to lay down their weapons or face being bombed. That was when one of the Guardsmen told the Russian invaders to ‘go f*ck’ themselves. After the announcement of the men’s death, the president of Ukraine awarded the men the ‘heroes of Ukraine’ award.
I doubt the award will be revoked if the men are alive. Their unwavering bravery in the face of a Russian destroyer is undeniable. If they are prisoners of war, there have been no updates from Russian state television to their current conditions. Ukraine did note that the Island was destroyed.
Erica Carlin is an independent journalist, opinion writer and contributor to several news and opinion sources. She is based in Georgia.