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Ukraine Honors Soldier Who Cursed Out Russian Warship

Defense Ministry of Ukraine

A Ukrainian soldier who coined the phrase “Russian warship, go f*ck yourself” on the first day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been awarded a medal. 

Border guard Roman Hrybov uttered the viral line during the Russian attack on Snake Island, a remote Black Sea outpost, after a Russian warship ordered him and his comrades to surrender. His rebuke became a rallying cry for Ukrainian resistance, featuring on billboards across the country and adopted by anti-war protesters and Western officials.

Hrybov was among 13 border guards on Snake Island when it was attacked.

It was initially reported all the men were killed, but President Volodymyr Zelensky said this weekend that some had survived and were taken prisoner. Hrybov was exchanged last week in one of the few prisoner swaps of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. 

A video posted by the administration of central Ukraine’s Cherkasy region Tuesday showed its head Ihor Taburets awarding Hrybov the distinction “For Merit to Cherkasy.” The Ukrainian Defense Ministry posted a photo of Taburets congratulating Hrybov.

“I want to say a huge thank you to the Ukrainian people for their support. We feel it very much, it inspires us,” Hrybov said, according to the Odessa Journal news website. “We have strength, we have truth, together, we will win. Glory to Ukraine!”

Hrybov’s famous rebuke occurred as part of a radio exchange with the crew of the Russian missile cruiser Moskva. It was widely shared online.

“This is a Russian warship,” a voice is heard saying to Hrybov. “I suggest you surrender your weapons and capitulate, otherwise I will open fire.”

The 42-acre Snake Island, adjacent to Romanian waters, marks the edge of Ukraine’s territorial waters in the Black Sea and reportedly remains in Russian hands.

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