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30th Jun 2022

Russia leaves Snake Island where guards told warship “go f*** yourself” months ago

Charlie Herbert

Russia has labelled it a “gesture of goodwill”.

Russia has withdrawn from Snake Island, where a group of Ukrainian soldiers famously told a Russian warship to “go f*** yourself.”

The Russian Defence Ministry has said that the move shows that they are not impeding efforts from the United Nations (UN) to organise a humanitarian corridor to export agricultural goods out of Ukraine.

Moscow has gone as far to describe the move as a “gesture of goodwill,” the Guardian reports.

In a statement, the Defence Ministry said: “In order to organise humanitarian grain corridors as part of the implementation of joint agreements reached with the participation of the UN, the Russian Federation decided to leave its positions on Zmiinyi Island.”

Snake Island achieved global fame in the early days of the war in Ukraine after border guards on the island refused to surrender to a Russian warship, telling sailors onboard to “go f*** yourself.”

Initial reports said the soldiers had been killed as a result, but it was later revealed that they had in fact been taken captive by Russian forces.

They were eventually released in March as part of a prisoner swap.

The man who issued the “go f*** yourself” command was Roman Gribov. He was later awarded a medal for his service and for showing “strength and Ukrainian spirit.”

Ukraine has labelled Russia’s withdrawal from the island as a significant victory. Snake Island holds major strategic importance, sitting less than 40km off Ukraine’s southern coast.

In a post on social media, Ukraine’s Operational Command South said: “During the night, as a result of another successful stage of the military operation with strikes by our missile and artillery, the opponent hurriedly evacuated the remains of the garrison (of Snake Island) with two speed boats… Currently, it is covered in fire and explosions.”

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