Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has confirmed all guards stationed on Zmiinyi Island – also known as Snake Island — were killed after refusing to surrender to a Russian warship.
Thirteen soldiers reportedly died defending the island, which is under Ukraine's control, after being ordered to surrender by Russian attackers.
In audio shared online, reportedly of the radio exchange, the defenders told the Russians: "Go f*** yourselves" when they were ordered to surrender.
Shortly after the exchange, the island, which is located in the Black Sea 48km off Ukraine’s coast, was hit when the warship opened fire.
“All the defenders of the island of Zmiinyi died but did not surrender,” Mr Zelensky said.
“All of them will be named Heroes of Ukraine.”
Russian soldiers ordered guards to lay down weapons
In a short 28-second clip of a radio exchange, Ukrainian soldiers were told by a sailor on board the warship: "This is Russian warship I repeat."
"I suggest you lay down your weapons and capitulate," the translation on the audio reads.
"Otherwise, I will open fire. Do you copy?"
“This is it,” one of the Ukrainian guards can be heard saying in the clip.
“Should I tell him to go f**k himself?” he asks. "Just in case."
The Ukrainian guard then turns the volume up and bluntly responds: “Russian warship, go f**k yourself.”
A video circulating on Twitter also appears to show a Ukrainian soldier on Snake Island as it was shelled.
137 Ukrainian lives lost in attacks so far
Olexander Scherba, who served as Ukraine’s Ambassador to Austria from 2014-2021, tweeted that the Ukrainian president reported 137 military and civilians had died in attacks already with another 316 reportedly wounded.
"Zelensky: today we lost 137 military and civilians, including 10 officers," the tweet read.
"All defenders of the Snake island are dead. There have been reports about 11 female soldiers who died after Putin’s missile hit their barracks."
Communication was lost with the border guards on the island after the attack.
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