As a Russian tank column was advancing, Ukrainian Marine and engineer Vitaliy Skakun Volodymyrovych was called upon to take out the Henichny Road Bridge, in the Kherson region. However, once it was downed, Volodymyrovich was unable to escape the blast in time, according to public posts by Ukrainian officials.
“On this difficult day for our country, when the Ukrainian people give away to the Russian occupiers in all directions, one of the hardest places on the map of Ukraine was the Crimean intersection,” reads the translation of a post from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Volodymyrovich’s act of valor prevented swift Russian advancement, the Ukrainian government said.
“There was an explosion right away,” the General Staff post adds. “Our brother [in arms] was killed. His heroic act significantly slowed down the push of the enemy, allowing the unit to relocate and organize defense.”
The General Staff also added that Volodymyrovich will be posthumously awarded for his bravery by the Marine Corps Command with which he was serving.
According to a Facebook page that appears to belong to Volodymyrovich, the Marine from Lutsk served with the Ukrainian armed forces for nearly 8 years.
The First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Emine Dzheppar tweeted that Volodymyrovych’s efforts were “heroic.”
Acts of defiance from Ukrainian troops and civilians alike are promulgating on social media, though independent verification is difficult while the fog of ongoing war lingers.
Some stories have been corroborated by Ukrainian officials, including one in which 13 Ukrainian borders were recorded telling a Russian warship, “go fuck yourself,” before a defiant last stand against in defense of a rocky Black Sea landmass known as Snake Island.
Russian advances on Kyiv, as a result of unanticipated resilience from Ukrainian forces, have not gone as quickly as leadership had hoped.
“Based on all the things that we’ve talked about, and what we’ve seen over the last 24 hours, we do assess that there is greater resistance by the Ukrainians than the Russians expected,” a senior defense official told reporters Friday morning, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “I’m not able to quantify that resistance for you. I’m just telling you what we’re seeing.”
Marine Corps Times reporter Philip Athey contributed to this report.
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.