Ukraine postal service issues 'Russian warship, f***k you!' stamp

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posed with a stamp book of the new stamps, which he said "became a symbol of the steadfastness of Ukrainian defenders."

 Snake Island (illustrative). (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Snake Island (illustrative).
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A "Russian warship, f***k you...!" postage stamp was officially introduced and a million entered into circulation, the Ukrainian postal service Ukrposhta announced on Tuesday.

The stamp's illustration features an armed and armored Ukrainian soldier with his middle finger raised to a Russian vessel. The background, the yellow ground and blue ocean, evoke the Ukrainian flag.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posed with a stamp book of the new stamps on Wednesday, and wrote that the phrase, "which became a symbol of the steadfastness of Ukrainian defenders, is now on postage stamps."

"Russian warship, f***k you...!" was the response to demands to surrender given to Russian naval forces by Ukrainian border guards stationed on Snake Island early in the war. The Ukrainian marine who uttered the phrase, Roman Grybov, was present at a ceremony issuing the postage stamp along with the illustrator.

"The phrase that inspired us to create the postage stamp has already become a symbol of the indomitability of the AFU, the volunteers, the territorial defense, all Ukrainians in the fight for their land and the independence of Ukraine," said Igor Smelyansky, General Director of Ukrposhta.

"I am sure that Ukrainians and our friends from abroad will be pleased to receive letters with such a postage stamp. And today in this postal way we once again remind the invaders that they should immediately get off our land and follow their ship."

The stamp is available for purchase online and comes in domestic and international versions. The domestic version calls for "glory to heroes," while the international version says "Glory to Ukraine."

Ukrposhta announced a competition for the development of the stamp on March 1, which according to the postal service is the "30th anniversary of the modern Ukrainian stamp." Entrants were asked to submit sketches, which were voted for on Facebook starting on March 8. 

The winning sketch was by professional artist Boris Groh of Lviv, who according to Ukrposhta was a former resident of Yevpatoria, Crimea, which was invaded by Russia in 2014.

The Snake Island incident occurred on the second day of the war, February 25, at a Black Sea island south of Odesa. The small Ukrainian force of 13 stationed there was recorded cursing at a Russian warship after having been asked to surrender. 

Initially, the Ukrainians announced that the 13 servicemen were killed in action, fighting to the end. The recording and story went viral in Ukraine and abroad, and became a phrase and symbol for Ukraine's fight against Russia.

However, on February 27 it was announced by the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service that the servicemen could still be alive. Their capture was confirmed by the Ukrainian navy on February 28, drawing criticism for the propagandizing of a false narrative about a heroic last stand.

Grybov was released from Russian captivity on March 28 and was rewarded with a medal. It is unclear what the conditions for his release were, and what the status is of the other captives.

Aaron Reich contributed to this report.