The Russian military has claimed that Ukrainian border guards, whom Ukraine initially declared entirely slain, survived, while Kiev's military concurred that it might indeed be the case.
Both countries’ armed forces on Saturday said that a group of Ukrainian border guards stationed on Zmeinyy (Snake) Island, located some 48km off Ukraine’s southern coast in the Black Sea, were captured by Russian forces. Russia says they were taken alive and unharmed to Sevastopol in Crimea.
However, the initial story allegedly went as follows: a group of 13 border guards on the island were confronted by a Russian warship on Thursday. The Russian ship ordered the group by radio to surrender, the Ukrainians replied “go f**k yourself,” and the Russian ship opened fire. After several hours of fighting, all the guards were killed.
The story spread like wildfire on social media and was held up by the Ukrainian government, Western media outlets and journalists as an example of Ukrainian “heroism.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky honored the troops he declared slain, saying: “On our [Snake] Island, defending it to the last, all the border guards died heroically,” and promising to award them the posthumous title of “Hero of Ukraine.”
The first signs that something else may have happened came early on Saturday, as Russia’s Black Sea Fleet announced that dozens of Ukrainian border troops were delivered to Sevastopol, Crimea, with videos online purportedly showing their arrival.....'
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