Ukraine has chosen the image for a new postage stamp called “Russian warship, go fuck yourself!” as the besieged country continues to try to keep morale high and win the PR battle against invading Russian forces.
The country’s first deputy foreign minister, Emine Dzheppar, announced the stamp commemorating the Snake Island incident, in which 13 border guards stationed on a roughly 16-hectare (40-acre) rocky island about 186 miles (300km) west of Crimea reportedly replied, when asked to surrender: “Russian warship, go fuck yourself.” They were then attacked, and thought killed.
The phrase has become a rallying cry for Ukraine’s defenders. Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, announced he would posthumously award all the soldiers the Hero of Ukraine award, though it was later reported that they may in fact still be alive.
The illustration by the artist Boris Groh received the most votes in a competition held by the Ukrainian postal service, Dzheppar said.
The country’s efforts to undermine the legitimacy of Russia’s invasion through non-military means have drawn acclaim from around the world.
Earlier in the month, Ukraine authorities said any seized Russian tanks wouldn’t need to be declared for tax purposes. “Have you captured a Russian tank or armoured personnel carrier and are worried about how to declare it? Keep calm and continue to defend the motherland!” Ukraine’s National Agency for the Protection against Corruption (NAPC) said.
Unarmed Ukrainian citizens have been filmed berating Russian soldiers, and many road signs have been changed to confuse the invading forces.
An NFT of the Ukrainian flag, backed by a member of Pussy Riot, raised $6.7m for the country’s defences, part of a wave of cryptocurrency donations encouraged by the Ukrainian government’s decision to accept digital currency.
Zelenskiy himself has been a ubiquitous presence across social media with live videos proving he has not fled and remains in Kyiv. He has also constantly worked the phones with western leaders in an effort that has been credited with helping to rally a united western front, both among governments and many large global companies.
Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, has made it a crime to call the war a war, all but banned social media and cracked down on internet access, ensuring that most Russians get their news only from state media.