The defenders of the small Ukrainian island of Zmiinyi in the Black Sea may still be alive, according to a statement released on Saturday by the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine (SBGSU).
"We [have a] strong belief that all Ukrainian defenders of Zmiinyi (Snake) Island may be alive,” the statement said.
Both President Zelensky and the SBGSU said Friday all the soldiers had been killed following the small island’s capture by Russian forces.
Preliminary information that border guards may be dead came before the defenders lost contact," Saturday's statement said.
On Friday, Russian Major-General Igor Konashenkov said 82 Ukrainian servicemen “laid down their arms and voluntarily surrendered to a unit of the Russian Armed Forces.”
The SBGSU statement added, “Russian media reported that Ukrainian servicemen on the island had been sent to Sevastopol” in Crimea.
On Friday, audio emerged of an exchange between the Ukrainian fighters and an officer of the Russian navy. In the exchange, the Ukrainians were heard to say to “Russian warship – go f*** yourself.”