Ukraine Soldiers Who Told Off Russian Warship Freed in Prisoner Swap

A group of Ukrainian soldiers on Snake Island, Ukraine, who were initially thought to have been killed after defying a Russian warship have been freed in a prisoner swap, said Iryna Vereschuk, deputy prime minister of Ukraine, in a Telegram post.

The 13 soldiers were taken captive in late February by Russian occupiers. Ukrainian officials originally announced that the soldiers had died after Russian forces opened fire with barreled gunships and airstrikes.

The story made international headlines after an audio clip surfaced between the soldiers and Russian forces.

A voice was heard saying,:”This is a Russian warship. I propose you lay down your weapons and surrender to avoid bloodshed and unnecessary victims. Otherwise you will be bombed.”

The Ukrainians replied, ”Russian warship, go f*** yourself.”

After the clip went viral, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy promised to decorate the presumed dead border guards with the country’s highest honor.

”On our Zmiinyi Island, defending it to the last, all the border guards died heroically. But they did not give up. All of them will be posthumously awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said.

Vereschuk said Ukraine released 11 Russian civilian sailors they had rescued from a sunken ship near Odesa in exchange for 19 civilian sailors from Snake Island, including the 13 guards who responded to the Russian warship.

Vereschuk also said 10 Ukranian soldiers were exchanged with 10 Russian soldiers in the swap.

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