Ukrainian Snake Island Guard Who Told Off a Russian Warship Released: Military

  • A Ukrainian border-guard member told off a Russian warship has been released from captivity.
  • Ukraine’s military announced on Tuesday that Roman Hrybov returned to his native Cherkasy region.
  • Ukrainian border guards who defed orders to surrender became a symbol of national resistance.

The Ukrainian border-guard member whose profane response to a Russian warship’s order to surrender went viral in February has been released from Russian captivity, Ukraine’s military said Tuesday.

“Roman Hrybov, the author of the famous “Russian Warship, Go F*** Yourself” phrase, returned from Russian captivity to his native Cherkasy region,” Ukraine’s defense ministry tweeted on Tuesday. “Glory to the Hero!”

Thirteen Ukrainian State Border Guard Service members were stationed on the tiny Zmiinyi Island in the Black Sea, known in English as Snake Island, on February 24 when Russia invaded Ukraine.

Aa apparent audio exchange quickly spread online of a Russian warship near Snake Island ordering the men to surrender via radio. One of the island’s defenders, now identified as Hrybov, could be heard responding, “Russian warship, go fuck yourself.”

All of the border guards were originally thought to have then been killed by Russian forces. Ukraine’s navy later announced that the troops were actually “alive and well,” and had been captured by Russian forces.

Hrybov was given an award for his services to the Cherkasy region, according to a government video of the interaction posted to YouTube on Tuesday.

The video shows Cherkasy governor Ihor Taburets greet Hrybov and present him with a medal. The two could then be seen chatting at a table and gave short interviews to the camera.

“I think that Ukraine really needs to know its heroes, and the Cherkasy region needs to know its heroes,” Taburets said to the camera.

Taburets added: “Everything that Roman said is really about Ukraine and the resilience of the spirit of our fighters, who in spite of everything — the tortures he endured, the treatment, the moral pressure — endured and will be an example for our Ukrainians and for the Cherkasy region, an example of firmness and strength of the Ukrainian, Cossack spirit — for us to win.”

Hrybov responded, in the video: “I want to say a huge thank you to the Ukrainian people for such support. We feel this support very much, it inspires us. The strength, the justice are on our side.”

The defiant phrase used by the border guards became a national symbol of Ukrainian resistance against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces, which have remained largely stalled across multiple fronts amid the ongoing month-long war.

Ukraine’s postal service even said it would release a stamp that says “Russian warship, go f#ck yourself” to commemorate the border guards of Snake Island.

Translations by Oleksandr Vynogradov.

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