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The Ukrainian soldiers believed to have been killed while defending Snake Island have been confirmed to be alive.
The news was announced by Illia Ponomarenko, defence reporter for The Kyiv Independent, who tweeted: "It’s official. Snake Island sailors are alive, Navy confirms.
"They were taken prisoner by Russia."
BREAKING:— Illia Ponomarenko (@IAPonomarenko) February 28, 2022
It’s official - 🇺🇦 Snake Island sailors are alive, Navy confirms.
They were taken prisoner by Russia.
It arrives several days after an audio clip emerged of a conversation that took place between a Russian warship and border guards at Snake Island, which is located in the Black Sea about 30 miles off the southern tip of the Ukrainian mainland.
In the clip, one voice could be heard saying across the radio: "This is a Russian warship. I propose you lay down your weapons and surrender to avoid bloodshed and unnecessary victims.
"Otherwise you will be bombed.”
At the other end, voices could be heard discussing their response, before saying: “This is it.”
The defiant Ukrainians then broadcast back: "Go f*** yourself."
last words for some incredibly brave ukrainians pic.twitter.com/cRYCzGRQtB— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) February 25, 2022
The Sydney Morning Herald's live blog on the unfolding crisis reported at the time that the State Border Service then lost communication with the guards and the island was captured.
That was believed to be the last anyone heard from the island, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying all 13 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the Russian bombardment on Thursday (24 February).
Zelenskyy added that they were to be awarded medals of honour after their heroic defence of the island, giving each of them the title 'Hero of Ukraine'.
He said: "On our Zmiinyi [Snake] Island, defending it to the last, all the border guards died heroically. But did not give up. All of them will be posthumously awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine.”
However, yesterday (Sunday, 27 February), Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service suggested the soldiers may still be alive.
In a recent statement posted on Facebook, the independent law enforcement agency said: “We [have a] strong belief that all Ukrainian defenders of Zmiinyi [Snake] Island may be alive.
“After receiving information about their possible location, the [border guard service] together with the Armed Forces of Ukraine are conducting work on identifying our soldiers.”
The latest update appears to confirm the agency's suggestion, and the soldiers did survive the incident.
This attack is just one part of a wider-scale invasion of Ukraine that was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The UK, USA and European Union have announced a number of sanctions on both Russian money and Russian citizens, although some suggest these sanctions do not go far enough.
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.
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