ODESSA, Ukraine—On the day Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, its flagship Moskva cruiser approached an outcrop of rock in the Black Sea and ordered the Ukrainian troops stationed there to lay down their arms or face bombardment and bloodshed.

A few seconds passed before the Ukrainian garrison issued its response—“Russian warship, go f— yourself”—prompting a barrage of artillery fire from the Russian vessel that ultimately led the island’s defenders to surrender and Moscow to take control.


Ukraine’s Tiny Snake Island Plays an Outsize Role in the War

ODESSA, Ukraine—On the day Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, its flagship Moskva cruiser approached an outcrop of rock in the Black Sea and ordered the Ukrainian troops stationed there to lay down their arms or face bombardment and bloodshed.

A few seconds passed before the Ukrainian garrison issued its response—“Russian warship, go f— yourself”—prompting a barrage of artillery fire from the Russian vessel that ultimately led the island’s defenders to surrender and Moscow to take control.

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