The Ukrainian Guards Who Went Viral For Telling Russia To “Go Fuck Yourself” Aren’t Dead

The guards were thought to have died "heroically", but survived the attack.

snake island

Want more Junkee in your life? Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you always know where to find us.

The Ukrainian border guards stationed at Snake Island — who went viral for telling a Russian warship to “go fuck yourself” — are “alive and well”, according to the Ukrainian navy.

All 13 of the border guards stationed on the island, located in the Black Sea, were thought to be among the first killed in combat when Russia invaded last Thursday. However, it has since been announced that they were forced to surrender due to a lack of ammunition.

The soldiers managed to repel two attacks from the Russian navy before eventually having to surrender. While all soldiers managed to survive the attack, the island’s infrastructure — which included lighthouses, towers, and antennas — has been completely obliterated.

The good news comes after Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskyy announced on Thursday that all 13 guards died “heroically” defending the country from Russian invasion. However, it was later revealed that the guards are reportedly being held prisoner in Sevastopol, Crimea.

“We are very happy to learn that our brothers are alive and everything is well with them,” the Ukrainian Naval Forces said in a statement.

The border guards went viral on social media on Thursday, after an audio recording of what was believed to be their last words was posted on Twitter.

Despite its tiny size — measuring just 46 acres — Snake Island is an extremely important part of Ukraine’s territory.

According to a 2021 report from the Atlantic Council, Snake island is “key to Ukraine’s maritime territorial claims” in the Black Sea.

The land is so important that Zelenskyy actually travelled to Snake Island last year for an interview with the media, in which he said that “this island, like the rest of our territory, is Ukrainian land, and we will defend it with all our might”.

Considering its prime location and strategic importance to Ukraine, it’s not surprising to see it as one of the first places targeted by Russian troops, with the Atlantic Council predicting its invasion way back in August last year.

While the 13 soldiers at Snake Island miraculously survived attack, at least 102 civilians have been killed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Thursday,  according to the UN. However, the number is feared to be much higher.