‘Russian warship go f*** yourself’: Soldier tells of ‘degrading’ experience in enemy jail


Roman Hrybov, 32, was one of the 13 border guards defending Snake Island in the Black Sea on the first day of the conflict. Audio of the troops was shared online as they refused to surrender to a Russian warship that said: “Put down your arms and surrender, or you will be bombed. Have you understood me?”

Mr Hrybov replied with his now infamous response which became a rallying symbol for Ukrainian forces, though he has since vowed that he “is not a hero”.

Mr Hrybov’s mother spoke to the MailOnline of how he and his comrades were captured and taken to a secret jail in Russia for a month where he was “degraded” and lost nearly two stone in weight.

Tetiana Rudolfivna said: “Roman suffered terribly at the hands of the Russians.
“He was starved and subjected to degrading treatment. He lost 10kg.”

She added: “But he says he is not a hero. He is only interested in helping other soldiers get out of the Russian jail where he was held.”

Mr Hrybov was returned to Ukraine last week as part of a prisoner swap and is at home in Cherkasy, where he is speaking out for the over 70 prisoners from Ukraine who are still suffering in the jail.

Evgeniy Goncharenko, the soldier who helped initiate the exchange and brought Mr Hrybov back said: “Roman and his comrades were treated badly.

“The Russians beat them. The soldiers got very cold. There was nowhere for them to sleep.

“They had to sit on the cold floor with their hands on their heads.”

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He added: “They were not allowed to go to the toilet. It was degrading.”

As Russian forces have been widely criticised for targeting civilians during this conflict, Mr Goncharenko revealed that “the Russians even beat the civilians who were taken prisoner. They treated them like soldiers.”

News reports at the time quickly stated that the border guards on Snake Island had been killed by Russian forces, it was even confirmed by President Zelensky who said they “died heroically” and would receive a posthumous Hero of Ukraine award.

His mother revealed her experiences of thinking her son was dead to learning he was instead a prisoner of war.

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“I didn’t want to believe it was Roman, I refused to believe he was killed.

“But then I learned that my son was being held prisoner.

“It was torment. I almost collapsed.”

Upon his return, Roman Hrybov was given a bravery award for his actions on the first day of the war.


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