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Subject Zelenskyy hails Ukraine’s forces from historic Snake Island to mark 500 days of war.
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Original Message Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted a video of himself visiting Snake Island — the tiny Black Sea outpost that became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance — to mark the 500th day of the war with Russia.

“Snake island. The free island of free Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said in a caption alongside a video, which shows him traveling to the island and laying a bouquet of flowers at a memorial.

“I am grateful to everyone who fought here against the occupiers. We commemorated the heroes who gave their lives in this battle — one of the most important during the full-scale war,” he said.

The island took on almost mythological status for Ukraine’s resistance, when officials in the country released an audio recording of a conversation between Russia’s flagship Moskva and Ukrainian soldiers defending the island.

Released on Feb. 25, 2022, the day after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion, it captured a member of the crew demanding the surrender of Ukrainian troops. The reply, “Go fuck yourself,” came back.

Ukrainian troops captured on the island were later freed in a prisoner exchange and the Moskva, a guided missile cruiser carrying a crew of 510 sank on April 14, 2002. U.S. officials said at the time that it was struck by two Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles. Moscow said the vessel sank after a fire caused by a smoking accident.

After a four month campaign during which Ukraine targeted exposed Russian positions, Russian troops evacuated and Snake Island was recaptured. Russia termed their retreat a “goodwill gesture”.

“Today here we commemorated all our heroes, our warriors that fought for this island and liberated it,” Zelenskyy said in a voiceover over the video. “Even though this is a small piece of land in the middle of the our Black Sea, it serves as an evidence that Ukraine will get back all parts of its territory.”

[link to www.nbcnews.com (secure)]
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