In February 2022, amidst Russia’s an unprovoked invasion on Ukraine, a photograph started to circulate on social media that supposedly showed one of Ukraine’s defense strategies — altering road signs with obscenities:
The words on this sign can be translated to “Go fuck yourself,” “Go fuck yourself again” and “Go fuck yourself back to Russia.”
While this is not a genuine photograph or a road sign in Ukraine (the lettering has been digitally altered), it did originate with an official Ukrainian government entity that was relaying a genuine message to the people of Ukraine (and Russia).
On Feb. 26, 2022, Ukravtodor, the State Agency of Automobile Roads of Ukraine, posted this image on social media along with a message urging Ukrainians to take down or alter road signs in order to confuse Russian troops:
This post reads (translated via Facebook):
Dismantling road signs on all roads of the country. Priority #1 – indicators, names of settlements. Collected signs are handed over to local authorities and roadmen.
The enemy has a pathetic connection, they don’t orientate the area. Lets help them go straight to hell.
Ukravtodor calls on all road organizations, territorial communities, local authorities to immediately start dismantling road signs nearby.
DONT YOU FUCK AROUND
Since this message was posted on social media, some signs have truly been altered in this fashion. Shaun Walker, a reporter for the Guardian, took this photograph in Odessa, Ukraine:
Road sign in Odessa
Straight on: fuck off
Left: fuck off again
Right: fuck off to Russia pic.twitter.com/2c1dzKxno9
— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) March 7, 2022
When Ukravtodor asked Ukrainians to alter road signs in February 2022, they did so with a digitally altered image that read “”Go fuck yourself,” “Go fuck yourself again” and “Go fuck yourself back to Russia” in Urainian. In the days since that post, some real signs have been altered in this fashion.
Axios. “Ukrainian Agency Tells Russian Forces ‘Go f–k Yourself’ in Road Signs Removal Announcement.” Axios, 27 Feb. 2022, https://www.axios.com/ukraine-agency-removing-road-signs-russian-forces-677880ce-2de9-4537-8f0b-60656707f66c.html.
“‘Enemy Has Poor Communications’: Ukraine Firm Removes Road Signs.” NDTV.Com, https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/ukraine-russia-war-enemy-has-poor-communications-ukraine-company-removes-road-signs-2792175. Accessed 28 Feb. 2022.
Fischer, Ashley Gold, Sara. “Ukraine Misinformation Spreads as Users Share Videos out of Context.” Axios, 28 Feb. 2022, https://www.axios.com/ukraine-misinformation-videos-context-c9c13e84-7a9e-4578-8e52-6b8f34379f92.html.
Sangal, Aditi. “Live Updates: Russia Invades Ukraine.” CNN, 28 Feb. 2022, https://www.cnn.com/europe/live-news/ukraine-russia-news-02-28-22/index.html.
“Ukrainian Army Setting up Road Blocks, Taking down Street Signs to Confuse Russians Soldiers: Trey Yingst.” Fox News, http://video.foxnews.com/v/6299070758001/. Accessed 28 Feb. 2022.