Meaning behind mysterious ‘Ï’ symbol appearing all over Ukraine in act of defiance

The “Ï” symbol in the Ukrainian alphabet is unusual in that it does not appear in Russian, and has been drawn on walls and roads in various locations in Ukrainian territory that have been snatched by Putin’s forces to symbolise resistance against the dictatorship, according to multiple sources. Russian forces continue to occupy Crimea and parts of Donbas since the earlier annexation in 2014, while areas captured since the full-scale invasion in February 2022 include all or parts of Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, and Mykolaiv Oblasts.

Describing the symbol as a “mark of defiance”, former US Navy Seal and author Chuck Pfarrer wrote on Twitter: “The letter Ï appears in the Ukrainian alphabet, but not the Russian. This uniquely Ukrainian character has begun to appear on walls, roads and buildings in Russian-occupied territory.

“The letter Ï has become a symbol of the Ukrainian resistance.”

Olena Halushka, co-founder of the International Centre for Ukrainian Victory and board member of Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Action Centre, confirmed she had also seen the symbol, saying it existed “Not only [in] Mariupol, this is the symbol of the resistance in all occupied territories. I’ve seen Ї pics from Crimea too”.

The Business Ukraine magazine also reported the use of the symbol.

Ukrainian resistance in occupied areas continue to frustrate Russian attempts to solidify its power, and threatened its attempts to hold referendums in a move towards annexation. According to the Associated Press (AP), guerrilla forces loyal to Kyiv are killing pro-Moscow officials, blowing up bridges and trains, and helping the Ukrainian military by identifying key targets.

Andriy, a 32-year-old coordinator of the guerrilla movement in the southern Kherson region, told the outlet: “Our goal is to make life unbearable for the Russian occupiers and use any means to derail their plans.”

Andriy is a member of the “Yellow Ribbon” resistance group, which takes its name from one of the two national colours of Ukraine. Its members use ribbons in that colour to mark potential targets.

The resistance member added: “We are giving the Ukrainian military precise coordinates for various targets, and the guerrillas’ assistance makes the new long-range weapons, particularly HIMARS, even more powerful. We are invisible behind the Russian lines, and this is our strength.”

Ukrainian troops recently used the US-supplied multiple rocket launcher known as HIMARS to hit a strategic bridge on the Dnieper River in Kherson, severing the Russians’ main supply link.

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Prior to the successful strike a former UK intelligence officer told Express.co.uk that destroying this bridge would represent a significant victory for Ukraine, as it further damages Russia’s ability to resupply its troops and complicates its logistics – something that has proven a major thorn in the Kremlin’s side since the war began.

As a result of its strategic importance, Kherson has seen fierce fighting in recent weeks. Explosives and car bombs have also been used to target Russian officials in the area, and have been placed at their homes and routes to work, as well as near administrative buildings.

A key target the resistance has repeatedly tried to take down has been Vladimir Saldo, the head of the Russian temporary administration in the Kherson region. A bounty of 1million hryvanias (just under £24,000) has been placed on the official.

His assistant Pavel Slobodchikov, has been shot and killed in his vehicle, while another official Dmytry Savluchenko was killed by a car bomb.

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While Ukrainians initially held peaceful protests against Russian occupation, these were disbanded by the Russian military, who arrested activists. A guerilla movement has also emerged in the heart of the mostly Russian-speaking Donbas, an area which has a largely pro-Moscow sentiment.

Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai said six Russian troops were wounded last month when their vehicle was blown up by guerrillas in the city of Sievierodonetsk soon after its seizure.

He told the AP: “The guerrillas have acted quite successfully. They haven’t only spread leaflets. They also have destroyed infrastructure facilities.

“It helps a lot to slow down the Russian attacks and advances.”