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13 Ukrainian troops on the island of Change, or “Snake” Island, could still be alive after challenging a Russian warship last week – after previously believed to have been killed, the Ukrainian government said.
“The SBGS and the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as the whole of Ukraine, have received hope that all defenders of the Snake are alive,” the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine said on Facebook on Saturday, noting that Russian media claimed the soldiers had been captured. , not killed.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Thursday that soldiers had been killed after a Russian warship approached the island and instructed Ukrainian soldiers to surrender or risk being killed, the Washington Post reported. Then the Ukrainian military lost contact with the border guards, and they were presumed dead.
“I am a Russian warship,” thundered the ship to a neighboring island, “I ask you to lay down your arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed and unnecessary deaths.” Otherwise you will be bombed. “
The Ukrainians challenged the ultimatum and replied: “Russian warship, go yourself.”
Zelensky said he would award each of the 13 servicemen who “died heroically” with the title of Hero of Ukraine, writes the Washington Post. reported.
“May the memory of those who gave their lives for Ukraine live forever,” he added.
But the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine has given hope that the soldiers may still be alive.
“As previously reported, on February 24, the aggressor fired at the border guards and soldiers of the Armed Forces on the island of Zmina with naval weapons and combat aircraft. According to the information available at the time, the infrastructure was destroyed and the island was seized,” the statement said.
The account adds: “Before that, the enemy repeatedly tried in vain to intimidate the Ukrainian defenders with demands to surrender and received only one correct answer – no one will surrender.”
“We understand that Russian propagandists know how to make the necessary information attacks and use them, noting that Ukrainian defenders capitulated,” he said. defeats and enemy forces ”.
Ukraine’s armed forces are working to identify the military and arrange for their return home “as soon as possible,” the statement said.