Safety in the Rear and at the Frontline

Under martial law in Ukraine, foreign journalists should follow safety rules both in the rear and combat zones.

curfew in Ukraine

During the full-scale war, most regions of Ukraine have a nighttime curfew in place. At this time, it is strictly forbidden to be outside and in public places or travel the cities and towns by foot or by any means of transportation without a special pass. However, at this time, you can travel by intercity buses and trains, as well as go directly to railway stations or bus stations if you have a ticket for a night flight.

You can go outside to get to the nearest shelter in case of an air raid alert. If you are outside during the prohibited hours, you may be detained and asked to show your documents. If you are trying to enter the city, you may be told to wait at a checkpoint until the curfew ends.

The curfew is set at different times in each region. The only region of Ukraine where a curfew has not been introduced is Zakarpattia Oblast in the west of Ukraine.

Below, you can find up-to-date information for each oblast of Ukraine:
  • Cherkasy Oblast – 00:00 - 4:00;
  • Chernihiv Oblast – 00:00 - 4:00;
  • Chernivtsi Oblast – 00:00 - 4:00;
  • Dnipropetrovsk Oblast – 00:00 - 5:00 (in Nikopol region it's from 23:00 - 4:00, in Synelnykove region it's from 22:00 - 5:00);
  • Donetsk Oblast – 21:00 - 5:00;
  • Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast – 00:00 - 5:00;
  • Kharkiv Oblast – 23:00 - 5:00;
  • Kherson Oblast – 20:00 - 6:00;
  • Khmelnytskyi Oblast – 00:00 - 5:00.
  • Kirovohrad Oblast – 00:00 - 4:00;
  • Kyiv and Kyiv Oblast – 00:00 - 5:00;
  • Luhansk Oblast - 21:00 – 5:00;
  • Lviv Oblast - 00:00 – 5:00;
  • Mykolaiv Oblast – 00:00 - 5:00 (in the Ochakiv city territorial community, it’s from 23:00 to 5:00);
  • Odesa Oblast – 00:00 - 5:00;
  • Poltava Oblast – 00:00 - 4:00;
  • Rivne Oblast – 00:00 - 5:00;
  • Sumy Oblast – 23:00 - 5:00;
  • Ternopil Oblast – 00:00 - 5:00;
  • Vinnytsia Oblast – 00:00 - 5:00;
  • Volyn Oblast – 00:00 - 5:00;
  • Zaporizhzhia Oblast – 21:00 - 5:00 (in Zaporizhzhia and Zaporizhzhia region, it's from 23:00 to 5:00);
  • Zhytomyr Oblast – 00:00 - 5:00.

Please note: curfew hours are subject to change, so before traveling to a particular location, you should check with the local administration for up-to-date information.

Safety during air raids and missile attacks

  • If you hear an air raid alarm, immediately go to the nearest shelter. Find out in advance where they are located near your place of stay;
  • Take water, a phone with a power bank, a flashlight, dry food, and a whistle (for signaling) to the shelter;
  • If you do not have time to run to the shelter, immediately go to a room without windows (possibly a bathroom or a corridor); use the “two walls” rule: you should have at least two walls separating you from danger; 
  • Discuss with your colleagues or Ukrainian friends in advance the plan of action and meeting place in case of a power outage and loss of Internet connectivity;
  • If there is an explosion, fire, or damage in the building where you are staying, leave it as soon as possible;
  • After the air raid ends, you can leave the shelter.

In addition to basic knowledge of wartime safety rules, foreign journalists should have solid insurance covering military risks. Such a policy provides not only for emergency care and ambulatory treatment but also for coverage of risks and accidents related to military operations or terrorist acts. Read more about insurance in the Services section.

Tips for safety in the combat zone

  • Before arriving in a war zone, carefully analyze the risks and threats and review the safety protocols for each situation. Inform your colleagues and your closest relatives of your plans;
  • Learn basic information about the war: the warring sides, the causes of the war, tactics of warfare, etc. Be able to distinguish between the uniforms and vehicles of the Ukrainian and Russian armies; 
  • Read the Order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine that regulates the media’s work in the war zone.
  • Take care of your protective equipment. Make sure you have a helmet, bulletproof vest, and first aid kit with you. It is better to buy them in advance, as they are in demand in Ukraine and may not be available in military equipment stores. Make sure you know how to wear a bulletproof vest and helmet properly. Check if the first aid kit case can be attached to your belt or bulletproof vest;
  • Find a fixer in advance. Local journalists have a better understanding of the context of a particular frontline or near-frontline area. They will help you organize your work, find interviewees and experts, solve logistical issues, and take care of your safety;
  • Always have your press card and ID with you. Apply for accreditation in a war zone in advance, a week or two before you arrive in Ukraine;
  • Report your work at a particular location to the responsible press officers;
  • Do not ignore warnings of the Ukrainian military about the danger;
  • If a soldier or a press officer asks you not to publish certain photos or videos, listen to the request. If the Russian military sees the footage you have taken, they may adjust their fire on that area. Both you, if you haven't left the area yet, and the Ukrainian military who remain there may come under fire;
  • Have an emergency evacuation plan in case of emergencies.

How to behave when crossing checkpoints

Under martial law, Ukraine has implemented enhanced security measures. Checkpoints have been set up in cities and between regions where the police and military can check civilians, including journalists.

Here are the rules proposed by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine on the conduct at checkpoints:

  1. Reduce speed;
  2. Turn off the headlights and turn on the emergency lights;
  3. Prepare your documents;
  4. Do not get out of the car without the military's permission;
  5. Do not record video;
  6. Upon request, open the trunk and show the car's interior; 
  7. Answer the questions clearly;
  8. After inspection, do not drive off abruptly; 
  9. Keep calm throughout the check.

Please note that not all military and police officers are fluent in English. If you are not accompanied by a person who speaks Ukrainian, it is useful to write down in advance a short text in Ukrainian about who you are and where you are going.

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