Snake Island sits around 30 miles off the coast of Ukraine and is less than one-tenth of a square mile in area. But 13 Ukrainian soldiers who fought and eventually died there saw it as a piece of ground worth dying for.

One of those soldiers live-streamed some of the battle that resulted in his own death.

The soldiers were border guards assigned to Zmiinyi Island, aka “Snake Island,” in the Black Sea. A Russian warship approached and demanded the soldiers lay down their arms and surrender.

Washington Post:

News of the defiant last stand on the Black Sea went viral Thursday, highlighting the grim decisions that Ukrainians have faced during the largest attack on a European nation since World War II. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said hours later that the island’s defenders will be bestowed with the title “Hero of Ukraine,” the highest honorific the Ukrainian leader can award.

A copy of the recording was posted on the website of the Ukrainian news outlet Ukrayinska Pravda, and a Ukrainian official confirmed its authenticity to The Washington Post. A separate recording, posted on TikTok, shows what appears to be a border guard in a helmet and balaclava on the atoll, also known as Zmiinyi Island, or Snake Island, cursing after coming under fire. His profile lists him as a 23-year-old from Odessa, a port city on the Black Sea.

Stories of resistance amid bloodshed came from all over Ukraine. Zelensky, speaking at a news conference, said the border guards had attempted to protect the island for much of Thursday before they were killed. At least 137 Ukrainians were killed in less than a day of fighting, with operations continuing, he said.

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