A handful of Ukrainian border guards stationed on a tiny island in the Black Sea will be honored as national heroes after refusing to surrender to a Russian warship.

Their last words to the invaders: “Go fuck yourself.”

Captured in an audio clip shared on a Telegram channel affiliated with Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs, the final exchange between the Ukrainian security forces guarding Snake Island and a Russian naval officer on Thursday came through clearly.

“This is a Russian military warship,” a voice on the clip said, according to CNN. “I suggest you lay down your weapons and surrender to avoid bloodshed and needless casualties. Otherwise you will be bombed.”

“Russian warship,” the Ukrainian group replied, “go fuck yourself.”

With a land area of less than one-tenth of a square mile, Zmiinyi Island, otherwise known as Snake Island, is little more than a rock in the Black Sea, according to the Atlantic Council, an international affairs think tank. It lies less than 30 miles off the coast of Ukraine.

The 13 border guards were killed in the ensuing naval and air bombardment, according to both Ukrainian and Russian news outlets.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky subsequently said that all 13 would be honored with the title “Hero of Ukraine.”

“On our Zmiinyi Island, defending it to the last, all the border guards died heroically,” he said in a Thursday evening briefing, according to Insider. “But [they] did not give up.”

“May the memory of those who gave their lives for Ukraine live forever,” he added.

Ukrainian casualties reached 137 on Thursday night, according to Zelensky, with a further 316 wounded.

In August last year, Zelensky chose Snake Island to host a press event spotlighting a diplomatic initiative to assuage relations with Russia. Asked why, he replied, “This island, like the rest of our territory, is Ukrainian land, and we will defend it with all our might.”



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