Ukraine Announces Highest Honor to Soldier Who Reportedly Blew Himself Up to Stop Russian Tanks

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    Skakun blew up the bridge, located in Henichesk, to halt the approaching tank column, the Ukrainian government news site, Ukrinform, claimed Saturday.

    The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the incident on its social media profile alongside a photo of the marine.

    “On this difficult day for our country, when the Ukrainian people are repelling the Russian occupiers in all directions, one of the most difficult places on the map of Ukraine was the Isthmus of Perekop, where a separate marines battalion was one of the first to meet the enemy,” the translated post read.

    It was determined the bridge needed to be destroyed to keep the tanks from moving forward, and the general staff reported Skakun said he wanted to be the person to do it.

    But his fellow servicemembers said when he contacted them to report he was about to blow up the bridge, the explosion went off in the background.

    “Our comrade died. His heroic deed significantly slowed the enemy's advance, which allowed the unit to redeploy and organize the defense,” the statement continued.

    Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said recently that officials gave 18,000 submachine guns and ammunition to civilians and militia after Russian leader Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine on Thursday.

    President Volodymyr Zelensky has since stated the government would offer anyone who wanted to help fight the Russians a weapon, and urged them to be ready to stand up for Ukraine.

    The general staff's post added, “The Marine Corps Command will be concerned before the higher command about the awarding of the Skakun sailor Vitaliy Volodymyrovich state award.”

    The agency then issued a warning to its enemies, writing, “Russian invaders, know, under your feet the earth will burn! We will fight as long as we live! And as long as we are alive we will fight!”

    Independent news outlets had not verified the government's claims at press time.

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