Occupation means that the armed forces of another country have captured a country or part of it. During the occupation, the state’s territory is under the control of the enemy, and its representatives try to establish themselves as the official power. They try to win the support and trust of the local population and keep them in a blackout.

Occupation is usually accompanied by intense propaganda, a provocation to treachery and violence towards compatriots, extensive repression of the civilian population, and increased crime.

Ukraine will defend itself in any case, proving it in practice, no matter how insurmountable the opponent. If the state temporarily loses control over part of its territory, the citizens of Ukraine will put up an organized resistance in this territory.

Be ready to cope on your own for a longer period in the event of interruptions in vital services or reduced availability of goods. If possible, stock up on water, food, and other necessary items. (See the chapter “Self-sufficient managing in case of an interruption in vital services” and “Home stocks and aids“).

Here is a list of tips to help you build relative security and be prepared for potential threats or provocations.

  • Here is a list of tips to help you build relative security and be prepared for potential threats or provocations.
  • Find out who will give you first aid during the occupation: hospital, ambulance, rescue service, etc.
  • Collaborate with other people in the occupied territories you can trust to do better together. If you have the opportunity – help those who need it. Take care of people with disabilities, women with children, the elderly who need support.
  • If you have to move around, do so on foot or by bike, and, if possible, only when it is light.
  • Avoid places that may be mined, such as abandoned buildings and bridges.
  • Do not touch abandoned weapons, munitions, or any unidentified object, as they may be masked explosive devices or otherwise dangerous. Instruct children carefully not to touch lost toys and attractive things.
  • Avoid contact with soldiers of the occupation forces and do not put your life at risk with provocative behavior (for example, public filming or taking photos, aiming with a weapon-like object, showing public resistance).
  • By protecting yourself, do not cause harm to other people suffering from the occupation forces.
  • Do not trust the information in the media that the occupier will broadcast; this is propaganda aimed at misinforming and intimidating you. Instead, make sure you have access to verified sources of information and find out the real news about the situation in the country.
  • When family members are separated from each other during an armed conflict, inform humanitarian organizations (such as the Red Cross) who help people find information and reunite families. Share this information with those in a similar situation.
  • Be prepared for the fact that the fighting may take a long time. So take care to organize protection for yourself and your loved ones.

Civil resistance in the occupied territories

Even if your city or village is in the occupied territory, every citizen can contribute to the resistance – both as a part of the underground partisan forces, and as an auxiliary component. Simple, and most importantly, safe actions, multiplied by thousands of citizens who carry them out, turn into a powerful weapon and a tangible obstacle to the work of the occupiers.

The Special Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces have developed a practical guide on how to resist the occupiers, which can be downloaded from the link.

More recommendations are available on the website of the Center of National Resistance.

Worth knowing

It is possible to help end the occupation without violence through organized and systematic resistance of the enemy. To make your business effective, follow these guidelines:

  • Do not cooperate with the occupying forces: do not share information with them or participate in public gatherings or events organized by the occupier.
  • Remember that humanitarian aid from Russia is part of a hybrid information operation. In this way, they want to show the world a positive picture that is not true.
  • Do not allow yourself to be used as additional labor in constructing defense facilities, etc.
  • Follow Ukrainian laws, not the rules set by the occupying power. Act on universal values and practices.
  • Do not let yourself be provoked by violence.
  • Record violations of human rights and constitutional values. But do it only if it is safe! Secretly record violations and share evidence with the Ukrainian and international community.
  • Help victims of violence.
  • Do not give interviews to representatives of the occupation power. Do not allow yourself to be filmed or taken photos of.
  • Collaborate with other community members and contribute to the continuation of civic initiatives.

Remember: people are not left alone in the occupied territories!

Ukraine and international humanitarian organizations will help them cope in various ways.

  • Humanitarian law obliges the occupying country to provide the population with food, medicines, essential clothing, bedding, shelter, and other means.
  • Several international humanitarian organizations will try to assist in the crisis areas. The occupying state has to facilitate the delivery of aid packages.
  • The emblems of international humanitarian organizations which can help you look like this:

Take care of your cybersecurity and tell your family and friends how to do it

  • Be sure to install a VPN on all electronic devices so that you can get true information even if the occupier blocks access to it (for example, Avast SecureLine VPN can be connected to 5 devices)
  • Clear VPN from the Ukrainian IT-company MacPaw provides free access for a year. Promo code for one year: SAVEUKRAINE
  • nordVpn – For free access, email them at chat or support@nordvpn.com. After that, they need to do a location test to make sure you are from Ukraine. Authentic for Linux.
  • Use only mobile internet or secure Wi-Fi.
  • Never use open Wi-Fi or one that asks for authorization
  • If possible, buy programs that check your phone for spyware (for example, iPhone – iVerify, Android – Root Checker App)
  • For your safety, use WhatsApp and Signal messengers
  • Purchase cards from different mobile operators in case one of the operators lose contact
  • Rename the contacts of people on the phone engaged in resistance and come up with other names for them.
  • Remove from gadgets anything that may harm you or the resistance movement you are helping.
  • Recommended social networks: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Linkedin.
  • Install anti-virus programs on computers (but not Russian-made). Remember, there are no computers that can’t be infected with viruses.

Pseudo-referendums of the russian federation: what to do as not to help the occupiers

When russia wants to legitimize the occupation of Ukrainian territories, it resorts to fake referendums. For Ukraine and the international community, their “results” are legally paltry, such that they can’t cause any consequences. 

For the citizens of Ukraine, participation in the “voting” becomes an assistance to the enemy, as it facilitates the realization of the tasks that they set before themselves. The best way out is to prevent the occupiers from presenting the required amount of ballots filled out by people. Let even these bulletins play only a propaganda role and have no legal force.

For the residents of the occupied territories, the campaign of fake expression of will also carries a threat as it is a kind of “roll call” of loyalists to the illegal russian administration. People who “vote” voluntarily and without coercion are seen by the occupiers as potential helpers and collaborators. 

The best strategy for not participating in fake referendums and other manifestations of russian occupation policy is to leave the temporarily occupied territory. Avoid participating in the pseudo-referendum carefully, without exposing yourself to the danger of violence or getting into “black lists” of russian punishers.

  • The so-called “voting” takes place partly at stationary polling stations, partly “remotely”, “at home”, etc. The easiest way to avoid voting at a polling station: don’t visit places where polling stations are set up on these days.

  • On the days of the fake “referendum” avoid crowded places, including shopping squares, train stations, and places of leisure. The organizers of the pseudo-referendum will try to collect “votes” in crowded places.

  • So that the occupiers don’t get your “voice” at home, minimize the likelihood of meeting them there these days. Change your location, lock yourself up and don’t show signs of your presence in the place.

  • An open conflict with the organizers of the pseudo-referendum can be dangerous. Instead, you can try to justify the refusal to “vote”: “i’ve already gone and voted”, “i’m afraid to vote”, “religious beliefs don’t allow”, “put a mark on the ballot instead of me”, etc.

  • Remember that not participating in a fake referendum is the right thing to do. However, if it’s not possible to avoid it due to a threat to your own safety, you should think about safety first. “Voting” itself is not a criminal offense.

To develop additional strategies for evading participation in a fake referendum, cooperate with acquaintances whom you trust. Together, it’s possible to make a more effective resistance to the actions of the occupiers. 

Do not under any circumstances help the russian invaders in organizing a pseudo-referendum: don’t agree to work in the commission, don’t agitate for participation in the so-called “referendum”, don’t provide material and logistical assistance in organizing the process. Such actions are a serious offense and involve criminal liability (up to 15 years of imprisonment).

It is important to understand: the referendum show organized by the kremlin is an act of desperation, because the enemy’s plans have failed. russia will lose the war.


Ukraine consistently implements the policy of de-occupation, the Armed Forces of Ukraine liberate Ukrainian land. The power of the occupiers is temporary.

Important information for the media, bloggers and all citizens who photograph or write about war and the army

According to the ORDER of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, GENERAL VALERY ZALUZHNY:

What is categorically prohibited to be covered by the mass media during wartime:

  • names of bases and subdivisions, as well as their locations

  • the number of soldiers in bases and units

  • the number of weapons and equipment, their condition and place of storage

  • conditional marks of objects

Any information about:

  •  operations carried out or planned

  • system of protection and defense of military units

  • available military protection such as: weapons and equipment(except visible or obviously expressed)

  • procedure for engaging forces (military) and facilities (weapons)

  • intelligence gathering

  • movement and deployment of troops (names, numbers, routes)

  • military units and their tactics, methods of action

  • unique operations and their execution methods

  • the effectiveness of the enemy’s electronic warfare

  • postponed or canceled operations

  • missing or crashed aircraft, ship and search and rescue operations

  • plans for the security of our troops (disinformation, camouflage, countermeasures)

  • informational and psychological operations carried out or planned

  • propaganda or justification of russia’s large-scale armed aggression against Ukraine.

Do not post on social media:

  • consequences of hits by enemy’s missiles or projectiles or moments of their flight in the sky. By doing so you will help the enemy to adjust the fire.

  • time and place of “hits” (neither in publications nor in comments)

  • information about the work of the Ukrainian Air Defense Forces

  • a photo showing numbers, special markings and markings on destroyed or downed enemy equipment.

  • unverified information about victims or dead.

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