A Ukrainian soldier detonated a bomb on a bridge to prevent a line Russian of tanks from crossing, according to reports. The marine was identified by the General Staff of the Armed Forces as Vitaly Shakun, who was defending a bridge in the Kherson region near Crimea on Friday, when Russians advanced and mined it.
As the tanks approached, Skakun jumped in to carry out a mission to blow up the bridge. Shakun has since been hailed as a hero for not caring about his life. Officials in Ukraine praised the marine for sacrificing his life to blow up a bridge to try to stop Russian tanks from advancing.
Guts and Glory
Skakun was stationed at the Henichesk bridge in the Kherson region during a standoff with Russian forces, according to a statement released by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Friday. The force was being accompanied by a huge line of tanks and armored vehicles.
According to a post on the General Staff's Facebook page, the battalion decided that blowing up the bridge was the only option to stop them. Shakun didn't have time to escape. He told his comrades he was going to detonate, and they heard an explosion a split second later.
"The bridge was mined, but he didn't manage to get away from there. According to his brothers in arms, Vitaly got in touch [with them] and said he was going to blow up the bridge. Immediately after an explosion rang out," the military said in a statement.
"His heroic deed significantly slowed the advance of the enemy, which allowed the unit to redeploy and organize the defense," a translation of the post reads.
Ukraine Fights Back
The bridge is one of several access crossings into Ukraine from Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. Shakun who died instantly, is just one of the many brave men fighting with all their might to slow down Russia's movement into Ukraine.
Shakun's actions, according to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, slowed "the enemy's advance" and allowed his fellow service members to reorganize and deploy defenses. The military has also stated that he will be honored posthumously.
His acts were also described as "heroic" by Ukraine's deputy foreign minister.
Skakun's bravery came just hours before Russian tanks marched on Kyiv, prompting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to urge citizens in Kyiv to arm themselves with Molotov cocktails and fight back. Zelensky also told his countrymen that anyone who wanted a gun and was willing to stay and fight would get one.
On Friday, Ukrainian soldiers blew up another bridge near Kyiv in a bid to block off one route for Russian tanks approaching the capital.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged the Ukrainian military to assume control and depose Zelensky. According to US defense sources, progress toward the center of Kyiv has been slower than Russia had anticipated.
Since the crisis began earlier this week, about 50,000 people have fled Ukraine, but that number is anticipated to rise as the combat intensifies.