The casualty count from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to rise and the latest is that 13 guards were killed following a heated exchange.

The guards were posted at the strategic Snake Island off Ukraine’s southeastern border when they were approached by two vessels on Thursday, according to reports.

The Russians initially identified themselves as a Russian warship and told the guards to surrender their weapons or they will open fire.

“This is a military warship. This is a Russian military warship. I suggest you lay down your weapons and surrender to avoid bloodshed and needless casualties. Otherwise, you will be bombed,” the Russians said to the border guards.

In the same clip, a Ukrainian guard could be heard saying: “This is it. Should I tell him to go f*k yourself?”

In the end, the Russian ship opened fire on the 42-acre land with barreled guns from the warship. Aside from that, they also bombed the island with an aircraft.

All the guards were killed after the Russian ship opened fire.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday, Feb. 24, that the border guards will receive a posthumous Hero of Ukraine medal for “heroically” defending the island.

“On our Zmiinyi Island, defending it to the last, all the border guards died heroically,” Zelensky said. “But [they] did not give up.”

“May the memory of those who gave their lives for Ukraine live forever,” he added.

After the incident, all communication with Ukraine’s state border was cut with Russian forces believed to have taken over.

A marine research station is situated on the island, and its maritime borders take in an area understood to be strategically important for resources including petroleum, the Guardian reported.

Ownership island has been hotly-disputed in the past between Ukraine and Romania.

People demonstrate in support of Ukraine
People demonstrate in support of Ukraine Getty Images | Jeff J Mitchell

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