The Ukrainian soldier who has been hailed a hero after he blew himself up with a bridge in order to stop Russian troops advancing has been honoured with a funeral.

Vitaliy Skakun Volodymyrovych took up a position at a bridge near to Crimea when Russian tanks were advancing last week.

When he realised that he would not be able to get out in time before the explosion, he allegedly took the decision to stay down and ensure the bridge was destroyed, even though it meant giving his own life, according to Ukrainian Armed Forces.

And earlier this week, Volodymyrovych was finally laid to rest in his hometown.

Ukraine’s Ambassador to Austria Olexander Scherba shared an image of his funeral on social media yesterday (2 March).

He wrote:

“His name was Vitaly Skakun. He was 25. To stop RU fascists, he blew up a bridge at the cost of his life.

“Today he was carried to grave in his hometown – and people stood on their knees.”

On their Facebook page, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine wrote: “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.”

Quoting the same force, Euromaidan Press
wrote on Twitter: “To stop the advance of the tank column, the decision was to blow up the Henichesk bridge.

“The engineer Skakun Vitaliy volunteered to perform this task. He mined the bridge but couldn’t leave and blew it up together with himself.”

His comrades reported that they heard from Vitaliy that he planned to blow up the bridge, and then heard an immediate explosion.

The general staff statement continued:

“Our comrade died. His heroic deed significantly slowed the enemy’s advance, which allowed the unit to redeploy and organise the defence.”

The statement also confirmed that Vitaliy will be considered for a state military award.

They said:

“The Marine Command will apply to the High Command to award the state award to sailor Skakun Vitaliy Volodymyrovych.”

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