Fact Check

Does Ukrainian Road Sign Read 'Go F*ck Yourself Back to Russia'?

It's true that Ukrainians altered road signs to confuse Russian troops, but it all started with a manipulated image.

Published Feb 28, 2022

Updated Mar 7, 2022
Claim:
A photograph shows a sign in Ukraine that reads: "Go fuck yourself," "Go fuck yourself again" and "Go fuck yourself back to Russia."
Context

When Ukravtodor, the State Agency of Automobile Roads of Ukraine, promoted an effort to alter road signs in order to confuse Russian invaders, they included an image of a digitally altered sign reading "Go fuck yourself", "Go fuck yourself again" and "Go fuck yourself back in Russia." Since then, some real signs have truly been altered in this fashion.

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):

"!! ️URGENT
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:

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.
 

Sources:

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, https://video.foxnews.com/v/6299070758001/. Accessed 28 Feb. 2022.

Updates

Updated [7 March 2022]: The original version of this article focused on a single image of a digitally altered sign. In the days since publication, real signs have truly been altered in a similar fashion. As such, we're changing this article's rating from "miscaptioned" to mixture.

Correction [28 February 2022]: The digitally altered sign is in Ukrainian, not Russian, as previously stated.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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