The Ukrainian soldiers who told a Russian warship to "go f**k yourself" while defending a Black Sea island have been confirmed alive, officials say.
The 13 border guards had been defending the remote Zmiinyi (Snake) Island on Thursday, February 24 when they were approached by an enemy vessel.
The Russian soldiers onboard told the guards to lay down their weapons or be “bombed”, according to audio clips of the incident that were released by Ukrainian media.
The ultimatum was followed up by an interaction between two of the Ukrainian guards who said “Should I tell them to go f*** themselves?”, before deciding to respond with “Russian warship, go f*** yourself".
The Ukrainian troops were presumed dead following the altercation and officials said they would be honoured with awards for their efforts.
After the initial reports of soldiers' deaths, Ukraine ’s president Volodymyr Zelensky said: "On our Zmiinyi Island, defending it to the last, all the border guards died heroically.”
Russian military officials have denied reports that the guards were killed and have since claimed that they surrendered, which lead some to believe they were still alive.
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However, it has now been fully confirmed by Kyiv media that the soldiers are alive and were taken captive.
Defence Reporter for the Kyiv Independent, Illia Ponomarenko said: "It’s official – Snake Island sailors are alive, Navy confirms.
"They were taken prisoner by Russia."
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The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine (SBGSU) previously said: “We [have a] strong belief that all Ukrainian defenders of Zmiinyi (Snake) Island may be alive.
“Preliminary information that border guards may be dead came before the defenders lost contact. We sincerely hope that the boys will return home as soon as possible. Glory to Ukrainian defenders!"
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