A Ukrainian woman is being hailed online for her poetic way of expressing defiance against Russian troops invading her country: by presenting them with sunflower seeds and urging them to place the seeds in their pockets so that the seeds will "grow when they die".
The incident was captured on video and uploaded onto Twitter by Internews Ukraine on the first day of the invasion, and has since garnered more than 3 million views.
Ukrainian woman confronts Russian soldiers in Henychesk, Kherson region. Asks them why they came to our land and urges to put sunflower seeds in their pockets [so that flowers would grow when they die on the Ukrainian land] pic.twitter.com/ztTx2qK7kB— UkraineWorld (@ukraine_world) February 24, 2022
The exchange also appears to have been filmed by the woman herself.
Російські окупаційні війська зайшли в місто Геніческ.⁰Відео спілкування з російським загарбником розмістила на своїй сторінці в соцмережі ФБ місцева мешканка.⁰На відео російський військовий не відповідає на питання,яка мета його перебування в місті. ⁰Відео з’явилось о 13:28. pic.twitter.com/Lp95AJu1Tk— НепоганаТетяна (@ian_tanya) February 24, 2022
"You're occupants, you're fascists!" Woman scolds Russian soldiers
According to a translation of the encounter posted online, the soldiers told the woman, "We have exercises here. Please go this way," after she asked them for their identity.
When the soldiers then confirmed that they were Russians, this prompted the woman to ask, "So what the f**k are you doing here?"
In response to being told by the soldiers that their discussion will lead to nothing, she said:
"You're occupants, you're fascists! What the f**k are you doing on our land with all these guns? Take these seeds and put them in your pockets, so at least sunflowers will grow when you all lie down here."
She then reiterated:
"Put the sunflower seeds in your pockets, please. You will lie down here with the seeds. You came to my land. Do you understand? You are occupiers. You are enemies."
According to British media The Independent, the sunflower is the national symbol of Ukraine.
At least 137 people dead on first day of invasion
Thus far, at least 137 have died and 316 have been injured on the first day of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, NBC News reported.
Russian troops are also advancing toward the capital after entering from the east, north, and south of Ukraine, in what has become the heaviest ground war waged in Europe in close to 80 years.
The Russian military is in control of several airfields it can use to funnel more forces into the country.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is believed to be targeting the capture of the capital and removing the government in Kyiv to install a puppet regime.
A Western intelligence official was cited by Bloomberg as saying the city of 3 million people could suffer extreme violence as the Russians take control.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has vowed to stay put and defend his country and insisted that he and his government will remain in the capital.
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Top Left screenshot via @ukraine_world Twitter, right image via @Osinttechnical Twitter