On Wednesday night, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an all-out invasion on neighboring Ukraine, the fledgling democracy that broke from the U.S.S.R. in 1991.
In the first day of fighting alone, more than 150 Ukrainians died as a result of Russia's attacks by land, air, and sea. Now, group of 13 soldiers defending Zmiinyi Island, also known as Snake Island, is going viral for their heroic and profane response to warnings from a Russian warship.
Located on the Black Sea, the tiny island's proximity to Ukraine's border made it a strategic location for fending off neighboring attacks
On Thursday, a Russian warship approached the island, warning Ukrainian soldiers that it would bomb them if they didn't lay down their weapons and surrender.
The Ukrainian soldiers' response went viral.
Snake Island: Ukrainian soldier tells Russian warship to ‘go f*** yourself’ before bombing www.youtube.com
A voice on the loudspeaker from the Russian warship said:
“I am a Russian warship. I ask you to lay down your arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed and unnecessary deaths. Otherwise, you will be bombed.”
In a chilling moment, a Ukrainian soldier responds on a loudspeaker:
"Russian warship, go f**k yourself."
Their bravery had social media users rapt.
Despite being heavily outmatched by Russia's formidable military arsenal, Ukrainians around the country have taken up arms against the invasion. Search engine queries in the country for "how to make a molotov cocktail" have skyrocketed. Ukrainian soldiers have, as of now, retaken the crucial Hostomel Airport despite heavy Russian attacks.
Twitter users praised the bravery of the Ukrainian people.
UPDATE, 02/28: An earlier version of this article echoed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's announcement that the 13 soldiers defending Snake Island "died heroically." The Ukrainian Navy, however, recently announced that all soldiers are "alive and well" but remain in Russian captivity.