(PatrioticPost.com)- The Ukrainian marines and border guards who initially were believed to have been killed defending Snake Island from a Russian naval bombardment are “alive and well,” according to the Ukrainian Navy.
Rumors swirled after audio purportedly between the Snake Island defenders and a Russian naval vessel was released to the media. According to the audio exchange, when the Russians told the border guards and marines to lay down their weapons or the island would be bombed, one of the Ukrainians said in response, “Russian warship. Go f**k yourself!”
The Russian vessel then began bombing Snake Island.
Ukraine’s military lost contact with the 13 servicemen after the attack and feared the worst. Later that day, President Volodymyr Zelensky revealed that the now-infamous 13 defenders of Snake Island had died “heroically” and each would be posthumously awarded the title “Hero of Ukraine.”
But the Ukrainian Border Guard later suggested that the reports of their deaths might be premature.
On Saturday, after Russian state-control media broadcast footage of captured Ukrainian soldiers arriving in Sevastopol, Crimea where the Russians are holding prisoners, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, along with the Ukrainian Armed Forces said they strongly believed the Snake Island defenders may still be alive and among the captured.
And on Monday, the Ukraine Navy released a statement saying they were “very happy to learn” that the brave defenders of Snake Island “are alive and well.”
According to the statement, the soldiers on Snake Island were able to repel two attacks by Russian forces but eventually were forced to surrender when they ran out of ammunition.
Snake Island’s infrastructure, including lighthouses, towers, and antennas, were all destroyed in the bombardment.
Also known as Zmiinyi Island, Snake Island is 48 kilometers off the southern tip of Ukraine in the northwestern Black Sea. It is about 185 miles west of Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014.
Snake Island is considered of strategic importance to Ukraine and the key to the country’s territorial claims in the Black Sea.