The 13 Ukraine Troops Who Told Russia 'F*** Yourself' Are 'Alive and Well'

A contingent of Ukrainian troops thought to be dead after its defense of a landmass in the Black Sea against Russian attacks is actually alive, according to a Facebook post published today by Ukrainian Naval Forces.

The post said that "Russian propaganda" tried to twist information about the Ukrainians' defense of Snake Island, which is located about 30 miles off the coast of the nearest Ukrainian town, Vylkove, and approximately 185 miles west of Crimea. It represents an area about one-tenth of a square mile and normally includes a lighthouse and a number of soldiers.

Originally, it was reported that 13 Ukrainians defending the island were killed by Russian forces on Thursday. That was due to a translation of a radio communication from a Russian Navy warship that warned soldiers to surrender before the island was attacked.

Ukrainians reportedly told Russian forces to "go f*** yourselves" in response.

"Regarding the Marines and border guards who were taken captive by Russian occupiers on the island of Snake, we are very happy to learn that our brothers are alive and well with them!" Ukraine Naval Forces said in the Facebook post, adding that the border guards "bravely rebuked twice the attacks of the Russian invaders."

Ukrainian authorities said that Russia neglected to report that they "completely destroyed" the island's infrastructure, including the lighthouse, carnations and antennas. Communications were interrupted at the time of the onslaught.

Ukraine Flag
It was originally thought that a Russian attack resulted in the deaths of 13 Ukrainian soldiers, but Ukraine officials say none of them died after all. Above, a picture of the Ukrainian flag. iStock/Getty

"Repeated attempts to contact the personal team and learn about its fate were futile," the post continued, "and the permanent shelling on the side of warships and aviation of the Russian Federation did not allow to help the Marines."

Ukrainians said that the assault and misinformation spread by the Russians "proved again that there is no faith and truth in his actions and words," likely in reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukrainian forces also accused Russia of killing and wounding Ukrainians who were on board a civilian ship as part of a humanitarian mission to help victims.

Two priests were among those detained and "illegally captured."

"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," Ukrainian forces said. "We demand from Russia the immediate release of illegally occupied citizens of Ukraine. We address the world community, to the believers of all churches requesting to take all possible measures to influence the Russian Federation for the return of our citizens."

The Atlantic Council, which has examined social and geopolitical issues for decades, wrote in August 2021 that Snake Island may be "the next hot spot" in Putin's efforts to overpower Ukraine.

"The Russian seizure of Crimea in 2014 has already allowed Moscow to dominate large swathes of the Black Sea that rightfully belong to Ukraine," council officials wrote. "Until it regains Crimea, Snake Island will remain key to Ukraine's maritime territorial claims. Recent developments indicate that Ukraine is well aware of Snake Island's strategic importance, as well as the island's extreme vulnerability to Russian attack."

Even Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned Snake Island just last year as a representation of the tension between both countries, saying that the "island, like the rest of our territory, is Ukrainian land and we will defend it with all our might."