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.
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:
Access to Ukrainian news in the occupied territories
Ukrainian TV channels can be found on an open satellite using a satellite receiver or a TV set with a built-in receiver. Since the beginning of the war, Ukrainian television has been decoded on satellite.
Currently, most Ukrainian channels are available on Astra 4A (4.8°E) (mainly at 11766 H, 12130 V and 12437 V) and Amos 3 (4.0°W) (main frequencies 11140 H, 11175 H).
Internet (mobile and stationary)
If your Internet provider is connected to the Russian network, always use VPN services on your phone and computer. They help you avoid surveillance and bypass restrictions imposed by the occupiers. Many of these services are blocked by Russia, so you should look for VPN services that are not yet blocked and avoid using Russian apps.
Using a VPN service, you can watch Ukrainian television and read Ukrainian media online. You can watch Ukrainian TV on Youtube, Kyivstar TV, Megogo, Omega TV and many other platforms, as well as in the Diia app.
For official statements and important information, be sure to check the websites (official social media pages that have a verification mark — a blue tick) of Ukrainian government agencies. However, you should be careful not to come across a fake website created by the enemy.
Search for Ukrainian radio broadcasting on the radioplayer.ua platform, as well as on the website or in the Suspilne Radio app:
app for iOS
app for Android
Residents living close to the frontline have a chance to catch Ukrainian radio on regular receivers. Turn on the radio in your car, smartphone, or find a battery-powered radio and search for ” Ukrainske Radio”, “Promin”, or “Kultura” on the FM band. The frequencies for your region can be found on the “Suspilne” website.
Commercial radio stations, such as “Hit FM” and “Melody”, also broadcast Ukrainian programs. Look for frequencies in the FM band for your region on the stations’ websites.
How to distinguish Russian propaganda from real news?
Russian propaganda works in a complex way. To resist it, it is important to know the propaganda techniques used by Russians. Then you can understand when propaganda is working against you when you perceive information. Its main technique is shameless and aggressive accusation of “everyone and everything” so that residents of the occupied territories cannot distinguish right from wrong.
The main techniques:
“Big lie”: so big that people simply don’t believe that you can lie so brazenly.
“It is obvious that…”: the lie is presented as if “everyone already knows”.
“60% to 40%”: 60% of truthful information that generates trust allows 40% of the lie to be promoted.
“Rotten herring”: unproven, unjustified accusations. They raise suspicions and doubts subconsciously, so they play a destructive role in the future.
“Divide and conquer”: propaganda fuels conflict, often making a mountain out of a molehill to divide people into warring camps. This technique is often used in social media.
An information-psychological special operation, or IPSO, is distinguished from a news story by the coordinated unfolding of a certain scenario in the information field, consisting of a cascade of news, statements, events, and comments by so-called experts. These are campaigns with regular repetition of theses. IPSO can last for a month or more. To achieve the goal, these operations have their own dynamics and repeatability. The enemy creates manipulative information puzzles, hoping that a person will put them together and draw the conclusions necessary for the enemy.
One recent example of Russian IPSO is the sharp increase in the number of hostile informational materials in the infospace aimed at disrupting mobilization. These are various kinds of “advice” on how to avoid mobilization, materials with significant exaggeration of losses of our troops, negative materials about the mobilization itself, the work of the Territorial Recruitment and Social Support Centers, warnings about lack of or insufficient training, etc.
How do you know if a source is fake/propagandist?
A number of Telegram channels with a large number of subscribers claiming to be Ukrainian actually work for the aggressor. You can tell that a source is fake by the following signs:
The channel spreads evaluative opinions of events from mythical “own sources”
They use manipulative headlines and very emotional vocabulary: “It turned out that”, “Sensation”, “Urgent”, ” Everyone must read it!”, “It became known”, “Shocking truth”
The source imposes the idea that the authorities are incompetent and only care about their own benefit.
The posted messages appeal to conspiracy theories, for example, “there is no electricity because all electricity is sold to the West”.
Subjective opinion or assessment in such sources is presented as “the truth in the last resort”.
The occupiers often create fake pages of Ukrainian officials and government agencies to spread false information.
What distinguishes them from the real ones:
- Date of creation. As a rule, fake channels have been created recently or renamed.
- They don’t have the blue mark on social media that most official government channels have.
- The names of such pages may contain mistakes and Russianisms.
Russians also often create fake screenshots of messages allegedly from official channels, which are distributed in chats, groups, or anonymous channels. For example, questionable channels can use this principle to publish fake messages about evacuation.
How to prevent this?
It is not always possible to understand that a source or information you see is fake. So, before trusting the information, we advise you to find the official website (with the gov.ua domain) of the authority or official, or their Telegram and Facebook pages and make sure that this information is there.
A few rules to avoid being deceived by a fake or propagandistic source of information:
- Check your subscriptions by reading the list of propagandistic or pro-Russian Telegram channels compiled by the Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security.
- Read not only the headlines, but also check the source of the information, whether official sources write about it, and whether the channel doesn’t distort the information.
- Pay attention to whether the source of the information is not an unknown “dump site”.
- Check what the Telegram channel shared at the beginning of the full-scale invasion: whether or not it published demoralizing posts about “everything is lost” and statements by representatives of the Russian regime.
- Consider whether the information is presented in an emotional, aggressive manner. Words like “shock,” “brutality,” etc. that are used too often may indicate that you are being manipulated.
- Often, such channels publish fake or archival photos of completely different events than they describe in the photo description. Special programs will help you check the origin of the photo: Google Search by Images, TinEye. And Fotoforensics or Duplichecker will help you view pixel changes. This will help you find out if the photo has been edited.
- Don’t be overconfident. People who think they can easily distinguish fakes are more likely to be led and spread falsehoods than those who have doubts.
Which of the sources available in the occupied territories can be trusted?
The occupiers block access to Ukrainian online publications, government websites, social networks, TV channels, and mute radio stations. However, access to Ukrainian resources in messengers can still be maintained.
In Viber, official channels are marked with a blue bird. Some of them are available in the “Useful” tab in the mobile application. For example:
President of Ukraine
Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
Ministry of Health of Ukraine
Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security
Center for Countering Disinformation at the National Security and Defense Council
Minister Mykhailo Fedorov
If there is a threat of your smartphone falling into the wrong hands, follow these instructions to safely read news on Viber:
- if there is a danger, don’t subscribe to channels, look for them in the search box in the application or in the “Useful” tab to read;
- If necessary, clear your search history as follows: when you go to the search bar next to the “Recent” section, click “Clear”.
Most official channels on Telegram are also marked blue:
President of Ukraine
Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine
Ministry of Health of Ukraine
Vice Prime Minister – Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine
Ministry of Culture and Information Policy
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
StratCom of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
Defence Intelligence of Ukraine
Security Service of Ukraine
National Police of Ukraine
State Border Guard Service of Ukraine
Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security
You can find the truthful news about the situation in the country here:
UA:Pershyi TV channel
UA: Radio Promin
UA: Ukrainske Radio.
The “Yedynyi Novyny” TV marathon can be found on an open satellite. The signal is received by any satellite receiver, TVs with a built-in satellite receiver.
- Satellite: Hotbird 13;
- frequency: 11,219 MHz;
- polarization: H (horizontal);
- symbol rate: 29 900;
- error correction: FEC 3/5.
However, if the occupiers block the signal, you can listen to “Yedynyi Novyny” via the Internet radio radioplayer.ua, provided you have the appropriate application installed. Or check the “Diia” app, “Services” section – “Diia TV”.
How to protect your data in gadgets if you are in occupation
We recommend keeping valuable information that is not safe to store in your phone’s memory on external media or in the cloud.
Cloud storage or backup.
- If you own an Android device, you can back up your smartphone using Google One (Settings – Google – Backup).
- If you own an iPhone, you can back up your data using iCloud (look for it in Settings).
You can also use special applications: for example, Samsung Cloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, etc. The owners of such services use reliable data protection, but you will pay for large amounts of storage. And you will only have access to these files if you have an Internet connection.
The most reliable way is to use different types of backups at the same time.
Have you uploaded your data to the storage? Then uninstall the app from your phone, and remember your password and login or pass it on to your family members who are in a free area and delete the message.
If you have used the cloud for iCloud or Google One, it is best to log out of your iPhone or Android account, save your login and password in a safe place, and create a new account. However, a completely empty phone can also arouse suspicion among the occupiers, so it is better to have several programs (for example, entertaining ones), photos and documents on it that will not arouse suspicion among the occupiers.
External media: USB flash drive, HDD or SSD disks, etc.
The advantage is that you will have access to the data even without the Internet, and you will only have to pay for the storage medium once. However, this method is not as secure as storing in the cloud. Because if you keep the media with you, it can be found during searches. In the worst case, it can provoke the occupiers, in the best case, the device will be taken away or destroyed. The external storage device can also be a safely hidden backup smartphone.
What information shouldn’t be shared in chats or groups
Remove from the chats discussions on all topics that may provoke the occupiers: discussions of political issues, military operations, condemnation of Putin’s and Russia’s policies. Don’t save photos of military equipment, destruction, screenshots from the news, etc.
Delete all information from your phone that may seem suspicious to the occupiers:
- any patriotic information
- memes about the enemy;
- photos of the Ukrainian military, their equipment, positions, military facilities;
- photos of the occupiers, their equipment, positions, recorded facts of their crimes;
- backup copies of your smartphone, if you have created them;
Uninstall applications that can provoke the occupiers: for example, ” Ye PPO” or the Signal messenger, because the occupiers often look for it in phones. If you cannot permanently uninstall Signal and communicate with the defense forces through it, always have a clear explanation for why you installed it (it works better in poor connection, etc.)
Don’t keep contacts with military ranks or positions (“Serhiy Major”, “Vasyl Sergeant”, etc.), as well as other pseudonyms (“Johnny”, “Tony”, etc.). It is better to call them by their first and last name, which can be fictitious but realistic.
Also, clear your browser history, bookmarks, and messenger chats. But at the same time, leave something neutral, for example, a website with a weather forecast, movie recommendations, neutral correspondence with your wife and relatives.
The ideal option is to have a second smartphone that you carry with you and give to the occupiers during possible searches. However, if you use a modern smartphone, let the backup phone be roughly the same as your main one.
The State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine, the National Resistance Center and the Rakuten Viber team participated in the development of the recommendations.
Where to find information about the planned evacuation
Who organizes the evacuation?
Regional military-civilian administrations together with specialists of the Ukrainian Red Cross Society, police, SES and local authorities.
How is the population informed about the evacuation?
Through all possible channels – radio, television, mobile communications, social media, messengers, mobile groups with loudspeakers. You should be informed of the evacuation plan, information about gathering points, routes, and contacts of evacuation headquarters. If you are in doubt, for example, about the reliability of what you hear over the loudspeaker, be sure to check it with information from other sources.
Evacuation announcements are published by:
- Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine (website, Facebook, Telegram, Twitter),
- Vice Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk (Facebook, Telegram)
- Heads of regional administrations and heads of communities. Find the official telegram channel of the head of your administration here.
If you don’t have any access to sources of information about the evacuation, call the:
- The hotline of the Armed Forces of Ukraine 0 800 507-028
- 101 or 102
- Free round-the-clock hotline of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights — 0 800 501-720
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 email@example.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)
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.