Ukraine’s Navy has announced on Facebook that the soldiers held up on Zmiiny Island, also known as SnakeIsland, are “alive and well” and were taken prisoner by Russian forces, which contradicts earlier reports by the Ukrainian government and military officials that they had been killed after a naval bombardment on the Island. The incident drew international recognition and became somewhat of a battle cry after audio recordings surfaced of the soldiers telling a Russian guided-missile cruiser to “go fuck yourself” after it demanded they surrender.
After the incident came to light, Ukrainian President Zelensky announced that the 13 soldiers on the Island were killed, but soon after Russian state media outlets published videos saying that 83 soldiers were taken prisoner from the island and sent to Sevastopol.
A statement by the Navy said that a civilian vessel went to the island to look for survivors after it was hit by naval bombardments that “completely destroyed the Islands infrastructure.” The vessel located the soldiers, who were still alive, and took them on board. Russian naval vessels soon intercepted the civilian vessel and both the crew and soldiers were taken as prisoners. Ukraine has now demanded the release of the civilian crew and the State Border Service has said separately that it is working to secure the release of the soldiers.