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The Ukrainian soldier who famously gave a expletive-laden statement of defiance in the face of near certain death amid Russia‘s attack on Snake Island has been awarded a civic medal.
Roman Hrybov, a border guard on the island, boldly told a Russian warship bearing down on his position on the first day of the invasion to ‘go f*** yourself’, despite having no means of escape.
He was feared dead along with 12 other guards when the warship rained fire down on the island, but it transpired days later the group had miraculously survived and were taken prisoner by Russian forces.
Then on March 25, Hrybov and his comrades were released from captivity in return for several members of a Russian ship that had been captured by Ukraine after their vessel was sunk.
Now, the man once thought killed on the first day of Russia’s invasion is back home in the city of Cherkasy, and was presented today with a medal by the head of the region for his bravery in the face of Russian aggression.
The now infamous phrase uttered by Hrybov became one of Ukraine’s foremost symbols of patriotism and resistance, and has been shared online millions of times.
Ukrainian soldier Roman Hrybov, whose viral statement of defiance in the face of near certain death as a Russian warship attacked Ukraine’s Snake Island has been awarded a civic medal.
Now, the man once thought killed on the first day of Russia’s invasion is back home in the city of Cherkasy, and was presented today with a medal by the head of the region for his bravery in the face of Russian aggression
A civil medal presented to Hrybov by Igor Taburets, the head of Cherkasy’s regional administration
Roman Hrybov, a border guard on Snake Island (pictured), boldly told a Russian warship bearing down on his position on the first day of the invasion to ‘go f*** yourself’, despite having no means of escape
A video released earlier today by Cherkasy’s Regional State Administration showed Hrybov, dressed in olive fatigues with a military style close shave, gratefully accepting his award from the head of the regional administration Igor Taburets.
‘I want to say a big thank you to the Ukrainian people for such support,’ Hrybov said following the award.
‘We strongly feel this support, it inspires us.’
A beaming Taburets said: ‘I think that Ukraine should really know its heroes and Cherkasy should know its heroes.’
‘The most important thing is that he survived, in spite of moral pressure, in spite of everything, and he will be an example for our Ukrainians and the people of Cherkasy.’
Hrybov’s declaration of defiance on the first day of Russia’s invasion of his country is one of the most recognisable moments of the conflict for many around the world.
It also became a rallying cry for Ukrainians in the early days of the war, and Hrybov’s words were immortalised by the Ukrainian postal service on a commemorative stamp.
The soldier was part of a small contingent of guards stationed on Snake Island in the Black Sea not far from the coast of Romania.
They were defending the territory in the early hours of the Russian invasion when Russian warship the Vasily Byko, one of two vessels involved in the attack, radioed the island and said: ‘This is Russian military warship. I suggest you lay down your weapons and surrender to avoid bloodshed and needless casualties. Otherwise, you will be bombed.’
With no means of defence or escape, the Ukrainian guards were facing almost certain death, but one of them, now revealed to be Hrybov, picked up the microphone and responded emphatically: ‘Russian warship – go f*** yourself!’
Hrybov’s declaration of defiance on the first day of Russia’s invasion of his country is one of the most recognisable moments of the conflict for many around the world (Hrybov pictured receiving his medal)
The Ukrainian Parliament confirmed 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
The 13 border guards on the island were believed to have died in the bombardment which followed their message of resistance, with President Volodymyr Zelensky even announcing they would each be posthumously awarded the title ‘Hero of Ukraine’.
But it transpired days later the soldiers had survived the attack and were instead taken prisoner.
One month after the start of the war, Hrybov and his comrades were returned to Ukrainian soil.
The Ukrainian Parliament confirmed last week that the guards had been released along with several other Ukrainian prisoners as part of an exchange for 11 Russian sailors captured from a sunken ship.
‘Additionally, today, Ukraine exchanged 11 Russian sailors we rescued from a sunken ship near Odesa for 19 Ukrainian sailors (authors of the legendary phrase ‘Russian warship go f*** yourself’).’