Snake Island soldiers who shouted expletive at Russian warship are freed in prisoner swap

Ukrainian sailors who were captured after telling the Russian military to ‘go f*** yourself’ over the radio as they defended a small island in the Black Sea have been freed in a prisoner exchange with Moscow.

Prisoners of war

The 19 sailors defending Snake Island were initially thought to have been killed by the invading Russian navy after their defiant outburst. It was later confirmed that they had been held as prisoners of war.

The Ukrainian Parliament confirmed on Thursday the sailors had been released as part of an exchange for 11 Russian sailors captured from a sunken ship.

In a Twitter post, the Ukrainian Parliament wrote ‘The first exchange of war hostages occurred on President Zelensky‘s order.


‘Additionally, today, Ukraine exchanged 11 Russian sailors we rescued from a sunken ship near Odesa to 19 Ukrainian sailors (authors of the legendary phrase ‘Russian warship go f*** yourself’).’


The day after the attacks, an audio clip was shared online in which an officer from a Russian military ship could be heard telling the Ukrainian guards to ‘lay down your arms immediately to avoid bloodshed and unjustified deaths’, adding ‘otherwise you will be bombed’.

The guards were then heard talking amongst themselves, agreeing ‘this is it’, before they responded to the Russian navy saying: ‘Russian warship, go f*** yourself.’

Black Sea

Snake Island , which is called Insula Serpilor in Romanian and Zmiinyi Island in Ukrainian lies off the Ukrainian and Romanian coasts on the Black Sea. For years, it was the subject of a territorial dispute between the two countries.


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