FLAG FLOWN ON ZMIINY ISLAND  “Snake Island”  — 73rd Naval Center for UKRSOF Flag

On 24 February, after a merciless Russian invasion, the entire trajectory of the war changed. Nine Ukrainian soldiers surrounded, outnumbered, outgunned and facing imminent capture or death showed the entire world the resolve of the Ukrainian people. As the Russian navy surrounded the island, a Russian warship called on the nine soldiers to surrender. They were met with an immediate response over the radio from the soldiers exclaiming “Russian warship, go fuck yourself!”. The video of the defiant soldiers immediately went viral. It gave hope to the Ukrainian people and the world that Ukraine could stand up to the overwhelming forces!

While the island initially fell to a superior Russian navy, on June 30th, relentless Ukrainian air, artillery and missile strikes inflicted heavy casualties forcing Russian forces to retreat. Unsure if this was an attempt to lure Ukrainian forces to an ambush, an elite group of combat swimmers from the 73rd special forces unit swam in to retake the island. The swimmers encountered numerous mines and traps set for the approaching forces, but successfully navigate and neutralized the threats. On the evening of July 7th, Ukrainian forces announced the successful retaking of snake island by raising the Ukrainian flag on the island along with this unit flag carried by the combat swimmers first to land on the island.

This flag is symbolic of the resolve of the Ukrainian people, the turning of the war and the historic stand made on the island. Donated by the soldiers of the 73rd special operations unit to the foundation, this is a piece of history you can’t buy and reserved only for one lucky supporter or the Ukrainian resistance attending Mountain Seed’s Inaugural Summit of Hope Gala!

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