"Russian warship, go to hell" - Georgian sailors, paddles and other memes of Russo-Ukrainian war
Russian-Ukrainian war memes – “Russian ship – go to hell”
The meme, born from a recording of negotiations between Ukrainian border guards and the Russian military, quickly spread across social media and news releases, becoming practically the main symbol of the outbreak of war and Ukraine’s resistance to Russian aggression.
The post appeared on social media and media outlets on February 25, the second day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to the recording, the Russian navy is demanding that a small garrison of Ukrainian border guards on Serpent Island in the Black Sea surrender.
“I am a Russian warship. I propose to lay down arms and surrender in order to avoid bloodshed and unjustified victims. Otherwise, you will be bombed”, the voice repeats twice.
The Ukrainian border guard answers him verbatim: “Russian warship, go to hell!”.
Later, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that all 13 border guards defending the island were killed and that they would be awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine posthumously.
However, the Russian command reported that 82 Ukrainian soldiers who had served on Serpent Island, surrendered and were alive.
On Russian channels, a story has been aired about how captured Ukrainian soldiers were taken to Sevastopol. In the Ukrainian media, this story was called a fake.
However, on February 28, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine stated that it is possible that the border guards from the Serpent Island are actually alive and in captivity.
Nevertheless, the meme about the Russian warship has already taken on a life of its own. This slogan is even placed on billboards in Ukrainian cities, it has been translated into many languages, and has even been used by politicians.
Thus, the head of the Ukrainian delegation at the talks with Russia, David Arakhamia, wrote on February 28 that “negotiations will go either in the direction necessary for Ukraine, or will follow the Russian warship”.
Meme continues: “use paddles”
The story with the “Russian warship” received an unexpected continuation in the form of a new video that immediately became viral.
In the video, the assistant captain of a civilian vessel, a bunkering vessel designed to supply ships with fuel, is talking over the radio with the crew of a Russian ship. Having learned that the ship is Russian, both crew members who were also Georgians, refused to serve it and repeated the phrase of the Ukrainian border guards.
When Russian warship said that it was running out of fuel, Georgian crew offered it to use paddles.
What kind of ship it was, and when and where these negotiations took place, remains unknown.
The theme of using paddles as an alternative means of transportation is also actively played up on social media, especially when illustrating the theme of aviation sanctions against Russia.
Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. For several days, heavy fighting has been going on for the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, as well as in many cities of the country. The Russian authorities say that the purpose of the invasion is a change of power, the “demilitarization and denazification” of Ukraine.
Western countries have said that Russia has carried out an unprovoked invasion of an independent country and imposed new sanctions against it, as well as providing assistance to Ukraine with the supply of weapons and humanitarian aid.