Ukrainian defender of Snake Island describes Russian captivity


One of the Ukrainian soldiers who was captured protecting Snake Island after his unit told Russian warship Moskva to ‘fuck you’ said he was proud to see the phrase become a rallying cry.

“The other day my wife and I went to a store and there were t-shirts with the slogan and a picture of a warship,” Lt. Valery Zakabluk said. told CNN Monday.

“I felt proud. But it is also a pride mixed with sadness because I know that most of my fellow soldiers are still in captivity,” he said. “I feel proud but with a hint of sadness.”

Zakabluk, who commanded a combined anti-aircraft, missile and artillery platoon on Snake Island, opened up about his experience in Russian captivity after visiting in the early days of the war, providing one of the most comprehensive accounts to date of the first battle.

Zakabluk said he and the other troops stationed there refused a Russian offer of safe passage when it became clear they would have to lay down their arms and surrender.

“We stayed and kept fighting, but the Russians destroyed our air defenses,” he said.

Valery Zakabluk told CNN how he was released from Russian captivity after five weeks.
CNN
Initial reports said the 13 border guards died after refusing to surrender Snake Island, which is 300 km from Crimea.
Initial reports said the 13 border guards died after refusing to surrender Snake Island, which is 300 km from Crimea.
Facebook / Armed Forces of Ukraine
    A bus brings Ukrainian servicemen from the island of Zmeiny, their garrison voluntarily surrendering to Russian troops.
A bus brings Ukrainian servicemen from the island of Zmeiny, their garrison voluntarily surrendering to Russian troops.
Russian Defense Ministry/TASS
The Ukrainians were first held in a barracks in Sevastopol, the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in Russia's annexed Crimea.
The Ukrainians were first held in a barracks in Sevastopol, the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Russia’s annexed Crimea.
CNN

Soldiers endured Russian airstrikes and shelling from the Moskva, running from bomb shelter to bomb shelter. When all the air defenses were destroyed and they ran out of ammunition, Zakabluk said, their command decided to surrender.

“We were first told to lie down with our faces down, and we were kept in that position for about seven hours,” he said.

Zakabluk said he and his comrades were then interrogated for several hours.

According to the soldier, he was released from captivity just in time to marry his wife Vladislava.
According to the soldier, he was released from captivity just in time to marry his wife Vladislava.
Facebook / 229th Separate Battalion

“They gave us food and tea, and then we finally had to board patrol boats and leave for the Russian Federation,” he said.

The Ukrainians were first held in a barracks in Sevastopol, the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Russia’s annexed Crimea.

“There were plenty of cameras filming us [to say] look how well we treat you,” Zakabluk said.

After two weeks there, he said they were put on a plane and taken out of the country, probably to northern Russia.

He described being kept in the cold only with the t-shirts they wore and being asked to kneel for hours on end, with some men beaten with guns.

“They treated us like common criminals,” he said.

After a few days, they were moved to another location. In total, Zakabluk was in Russian captivity for five weeks before being released in a prisoner exchange.

Back in Ukraine, the efforts of its troops were celebrated as an iconic moment of defiance, with the country recently unveiling a postage stamp commemorating the virus incident.



New York Post

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button