Ukrainians Are Manipulating Road Signs To Confuse Russian Invaders

As Russian forces continue their assault on Ukraine, Ukrainian civil transportation authorities are instructing citizens and local authorities to remove road signs in an effort to confuse or delay invaders. Images posted to social media throughout the weekend also show a number of signs throughout the country that have been defaced or altered to show obscene messages directed at Russian troops.

On Saturday, February 26, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense encouraged citizens to “confuse and disorient the enemy who is illegally moving around Ukraine” by removing street signs or signs with the names of cities and villages.

Ukraine’s state transportation authority Ukravtodor posted several messages to Facebook today showing road crews installing signs with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s face inside of a prohibition symbol, or slashed circle.

Another post by Ukravtodor depicts what appears to be a photoshopped road sign containing three messages to Russian soldiers pointing in various directions: “Go fuck yourself,” “Go fuck yourself again,” and “Go fuck yourself back to Russia.” 

While the sign in the image isn’t real, the organization’s message certainly is. The caption accompanying the post calls for local authorities throughout Ukraine to take down road and city signs and then to hand these over to local authorities. “The enemy has poor communications, they cannot navigate the terrain,” the post states. “Let us help them get straight to hell.”

Images shared on social media show some Ukrainian road signs being removed altogether:

Other images show electronic road signs above Ukrainian highways displaying the message “Russian warship, go fuck yourself,” in homage to an identical message famously transmitted to an attacking vessel by Ukrainian soldiers stationed on Snake Island, shortly before the ship opened fire. 

Some Ukrainians have reportedly been defacing road markers and other signs with messages directed at Russian troops operating in Ukraine:

The tactic of removing or altering road signs to confuse invaders has been used throughout modern conflicts. British troops removed signs from roads and rail stations throughout the United Kingdom during World War Two, while Kuwaitis removed or spray-painted road signs during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

A signpost in Surrey, England being dismantled as part of a campaign to remove signs ahead of a possible German invasion during World War Two., Imperial War Museum

Recent satellite imagery has shown that Russia has assembled a massive convoy north of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv stretching over 17 miles. There have been multiple reports of Russian supply convoys getting lost or stuck in rough terrain inside Ukraine, leading many to be abandoned or looted. As fighting continues throughout Ukraine and spills into densely populated urban areas, it’s likely we will see more road signs removed and other civil defense tactics used to impede Russia’s ground forces from navigating easily within the country.

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