UKRAINE: Ukrainian marines and border guards, who offered resistance to Russian invaders during an attack on Zmiinyi (Snake) Island are alive. Now they are in Russian captivity.
“As for the marines and border guards captured by the Russian occupiers on Zmiinyi (Snake) Island. We are very happy to learn that our brothers are alive and sound! But Russian propaganda is trying to promote the ‘news’ that the Ukrainian authorities have allegedly ‘forgotten’ and ‘buried’ their subordinates. At the same time, the marines bravely repulsed the attacks of the Russian occupiers twice. Due to the lack of ammunition allowance, they were unable to continue defending the island,” the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine posted on Facebook.
It is noted that the occupiers “forgot” to report that they had completely destroyed the island’s infrastructure: lighthouse, towers, antennas, etc. Accordingly, communication with Zmiinyi (Snake) Island was cut off. Repeated attempts to contact the staff and find out their fate were in vain. And the constant shelling by warships and aircraft of the Russian Federation did not allow to deliver aid to the marines.
The Navy also states that on February 26, after receiving information on possible casualties among Ukrainian defenders, the Sapphire civilian ship was sent to the island to carry out a humanitarian mission to help the victims. Priests Vasyl Vyrozub, Oleksandr Chokov and their assistants agreed to leave together with the crew.
“But they were illegally captured by the Russians. The illegal seizure of a non-combatant civilian vessel that did not carry out any military missions is a violation of the rules and customs of war and international humanitarian law,” the statement reads.
Ukraine demands that Russia immediate releases illegally captured Ukrainian citizens.
On February 24, the aggressor opened fire from naval guns and used combat aircraft against border guards and soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Zmiinyi Island in the Black Sea. According to then available information, the infrastructure was destroyed and the island captured. It was reported that 13 Ukrainian border guards refused to surrender to the Russian occupiers and were killed on the island.
Subsequently, Russian media reported on the transfer of Ukrainian servicemen to the occupied Sevastopol.
On February 26, the Russian Navy closed the area in the northwestern part of the Black Sea, allegedly for a “counterterrorist operation.”