By Annabelle Timsit and Sammy Westfall
May 23, 2022
The Washington Post
Ukrainians lined up by the hundreds at post offices across the country on Monday after the postal service released stamps commemorating the sinking of a Russian warship in the Black Sea and a group of Ukrainian border guards who insulted Russian forces and were subsequently captured.
The stamps were first issued last month to honor the soldiers of Snake Island, who were hailed as heroes in Ukraine after they insulted Russian forces who were about to attack them, an exchange that went viral. Proceeds from sales of the stamp went to the Ukrainian war effort.
Now, the stamps have been reissued — with a twist. The previous set of six stamps featured a Ukrainian service member making a rude hand gesture at a Russian warship from the shore. The latest set includes three of those same stamps as well as three modified stamps showing the service member still standing, but not the ship.
The release of the altered stamp comes after Ukrainian forces, using intelligence from the United States, attacked the Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet. The Moskva later sank, a setback for the Russian invasion. “Russian warship — done!” say the stamps, which are marked April 14, the date the ship sank. The release of the new stamps was on the Day of the Marines in Ukraine.
The stamps were launched in a ceremony by the head of the postal service, the commander of the navy and President Volodymyr Zelensky. “Things like this stamp are first and foremost symbols that help us believe in our victory. That we will definitely win this war, and the occupier will go to the bottom,” Zelensky said in a statement. “People’s interest in these stamps proves that. I am convinced that we will have many more such symbols of victory.”
The proceeds from the sale of the latest round of stamps will go to a foundation focused on “helping doctors, the military and civilians,” Ukrposhta, the national postal service, said in a Telegram post. The previous edition raised about $135,000 for Ukraine’s army, Ukrposhta said.
Photos shared on social media show long lines of people waiting at post offices in cities such as Lviv and Odessa on Monday, after the stamps were released at 2 p.m. local time in 1,500 Ukrposhta branches across the country.
Given the excitement and commotion brought on by the first round of stamps, Igor Smelyansky, who heads the postal service, said 5 million stamps will be issued this time — and customers are limited in how many they can buy “without exception.” He added that the stamps will also be sold internationally this time. “We have done everything to take into account the lessons of past sales,” Smelyansky wrote, adding that he wished people a pleasant shopping experience.
The stamps will come with different tagines for different markets, the statement from Zelensky’s office said. For international shipments it will be, “Russian warship … Done! Glory to the nation!” For Ukrainian shipments it will be, “Russian warship … Done! Death to enemies!”