The Paladins services in the Ukraine conflict
UPDATE 29 APRIL 2022
Our funding call below has now expired, because the logistics requirements are being adequately managed and funded domestically to the extent that they are capable of being met at all. In Mariupol logistics have failed completely and there is currently no financial means of remedying that.
To contribute to our campaign to re-open logistics services in Ukraine in the absence of gasoline, to prevent the Ukrainian people from starving when the food they have horded runs out, please click here: https://fundly.com/paladins-2
UPDATE AS OF 20:00 ZULU Wednesday 2 March 2022 / END OF UPDATES
This page will no longer be updated with the latest news and advice. That is because we are publishing multiple updates every day, each with their own separate webpage, all of which are available here:
Nevertheless this page should be read in its whole by anybody considering retaining us for our professional extraction services from Ukraine. That is because our instructions for how to retain us, and what practical steps you need to undertake, are explained in detail below in the original text of the post dated 12 February 2022. It also explains how to contact us; and how not to contact us: any method of communication used aside from those explained below will not be read or reacted to.
Further information about our professional extraction services, including more exact pricing (and that pricing information will be constantly updated), is available here:
The foregoing page will continue to be updated as prices change.
UPDATE AS OF 17:15 ZULU Tuesday 1 March 2022
The Russian invasion of Kyiv continues, with (as is typical in conflict) Russian forces seeking to take out the radio and television facilities.
Several other cities have been the subject of shelling of government and military facilities, with substantial lines of Russian heavy armour approaching them. These cities include Sumy, Kharkiv, Polkova, Dnipr, Zaporizhia, Donetsk, Mariupol, Luhansk, Mykolaiv, Nova Khakova and Kherson. This list may not be complete. We welcome feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are in a city that has been attacked.
Stay away from central squares and other urban public spaces. Because they may include government buildings or military offices, they are highly likely to be attacked.
We are receiving reports that the emergency evacuation trains from Kyiv to Lviv are very unpleasant and that Lviv railway station is unsafe due to a build-up of refugees living in the station. The border with Poland (if you can use it; Ukrainian men of fighting age are not being permitted to leave) continues to suffer from colossal delays of three days or more. In addition you cannot drive to the border, as the road remains blocked with abandoned vehicles. Hence you need to be prepared to walk a total of some 25km with luggage, and to carry sleeping arrangements with you, if you wish to use this route.
The Polish authorities are struggling with accommodation for refugees, and they are trying to push them onto trains heading for Germany.
We strongly recommend against using Lviv or any other Polish border as an exit route.
We recommend that you check this page at least once a day, and that you reread the entirety of our advice below before contacting us.
UPDATE AS OF 04:15 ZULU Tuesday 1 March 2022
At the time of writing, a 40 mile-long convoy of Russian heavy armour has reached the northern suburbs of Kyiv.
Given that this is possibly the largest ever military convoy in the history of war, it seems virtually inevitable that Kyiv will fall. The US intelligence estimate is that the city will fall be Thursday at the latest.
If you seek to play a military role in the resistance against this attack upon Kyiv, it is highly likely that you will be killed. Modern ground armour, including shells fired by tanks and the Krasnopol shell fired from a separate mobile mounting, are laser-guided and/or computer-guided. They will be aimed at resistance units, or even individual fighters, and in all likelihood once you are identified using spy satellite imagery or other technology, a shell will be fired at you and you will die. Shells can be inaccurate, so you place other people in your proximity at high risk of death as well.
Kharkiv has been the subject of limited shelling to destroy military infrastructure. We infer that an armoured column invasion by Russian forces will also shortly commence against Kharkiv.
Our advice is now as follows.
Stay indoors for 24 hours per day insofar as this is humanly possible, and read our article on how to avoid sniper fire (also on this news page), and comply with those instructions.
Do not participate in the resistance movement, and discourage your family and friends from doing so, as this will just prolong the battle and make it likely that you die. It may also place your family members in jeopardy after your death, as Russian forces target selected individuals perceived as having been participants in the resistance.
Avoid shelters, as these are likely to be cold, wet, unsanitary and more dangerous than the ostensible risks of residential buildings being shelled. (This is unlikely because modern shells are more accurate.)
Do not suffer resistance fighters operating from your building, either to fire weapons or as places of refuge, because this will substantially increase the likelihood that your building is shelled and hence that you and/or your neighbours / relatives die.
Be ready for the electricity, internet and mobile telephony to fail imminently. Also prepare for the possibility that running water will soon fail.
If you are in Kyiv, you are now in the most dangerous place in the world and you must act with the utmost caution.
We are currently suspending all services in respect of Kyiv and Kharkiv, but we hope to resume them as soon as the military situation allows us to do so without high risk of death on the part of our personnel.
Do not try to leave Kyiv. If you want to try to leave Kharkiv, going southwest, then do so within the next few hours.
The Paladins are planning to travel to Kyiv in the next few days on an emergency political and humanitarian mission. For this purpose we need to raise USD30,000 minimum, and even then we are exposing our personnel to high risks. Within the next 24 hours we will establish a funding portal at https://fundly.com/paladins-2 and when that is live we will update this page to let you know. We welcome any contributions, large or small, that we are able to make.
We are also planning on establishing a logistics entity to offset the risk of starvation or famine as a result of the invasion of Ukraine. Further details will be provided on this page.
We ask you to share this page with everyone you know, who may be interested in a philanthropic donation to a good cause. While we will try to answer enquiries about the political and logistics work we are planning on undertaking beyond the information that appears on this webpage, please bear in mind that our contact details are currently being used to deal with requests for emergency advice and assistance. Therefore we may be limited in our capacity to provide answers to individualised queries about the work we are undertaking; although we will do our best in appropriate circumstances.
We ask all people worldwide to think of the people of Ukraine at this time of terrible civil conflict.
UPDATE AS OF 17:00 ZULU Monday 28 February 2022
With the exception of minor sporadic fighting in a few suburbs of Kyiv and Kharkiv, the weekend has been relatively calm in Ukraine.
However an immense quantity of fake news stories about Ukrainian fighting has emerged on the internet and in other social media, and many international journalists have been publishing that material relatively unthinkingly. Substantially more than 50% of reported military clashes we have investigated have proven to be uncorroborated and we have concluded that they did not actually happen.
We warn all readers to treat any report of fighting or military activity with the utmost scepticism unless corroborated by military experts. The Ukrainian authorities in particular appear to have been executing a series of false flag operations giving the impression that Russian armour has been doing things that have not actually taken place.
The more serious concerns are that the country now has a logistics crisis, with the result that the shops (even when open) running out of food and the pumps being empty of gasoline. If left uncorrected immediately, this could lead to a colossal humanitarian crisis.
The current status of our advice is as follows:
Effective immediately, our services are reopen for the entirety of Ukrainian territory, with the exception of the Donetsk People's Republic, the Luhansk People's Republic and Crimea.
We are currently undertaking a risk assessment with respect to those three regions and we hope to be able to restore service to one or more of them shortly.
We advise all persons living in Ukrainian cities to observe curfews from dusk until dawn, even where that is not a legal requirement.
We advise people not to attempt to travel around Ukraine by any means without seeking professional advice.
Take great care with horded food or water, because there may be a long delay before Ukrainian logistics services are back up and running.
Stay away from all men in military clothing or who are apparently carrying long-bore weapons such as rifles or assault rifles.
Be alert to the possibility of snipers from either side being present in your city, and take measures to reduce the risk of being their targets. We will be publishing a separate post on how to achieve this.
Take measures to prepare for the collapse of the national electricity grid, which it must be presumed will fail at some point. Collect mobile telephone / laptop batteries; keep them fully charged; and consider acquiring a car baterry, fully charged, and learn how to use it to charge laptops and mobile telephones using a voltage adaptor. (There are videos on the internet explaining how to do this.) Obtain a kerosene stove and anything else available that may serve as portable indoor heating. Collect candles and portable lamps.
Continue to check this page for updates, and www.the-paladins.com News page for other articles about Ukraine.
UPDATE AS OF 15:30 ZULU Friday 25 February 2022
Ukraine remains mostly calm, with the except of Kyiv that is seeing the beginnings of a more fully fledged Russian invasion. Russian armour has reached at least as far as the Kyiv suburbs. Roads into, out of and around Kyiv are blocked with cars that have run out of gasoline. Civilian supplies of gasoline are running short across the country, rendering travel across Ukraine increasingly difficult.
If you are contemplating travel with a view to leaving Ukraine, buy several large plastic gasoline containers and fill them with gasoline. Remember of course that they are highly flammable and they will explode violently if they are in a building or vehicle hit with military munitions, potentially destroying the entire building and creating a fireball. Therefore store them somewhere safe and at a distance from human habitation pending your journey.
The fate of Antonov airfield northwest of Kyiv is unclear but Russian troops do not seem to be using it for the purposes of invading Kyiv. Instead Russian special forces are flying into Belarus and crossing the border in order to reach Kyiv.
We may see an attempt to decapitate the government in Kyiv by seeking to occupy principal government buildings and attempts to arrest the President and several hundred other senior political officials, and transfer them to Russia for detention and trial.
Nevertheless the Russian invasion of Kyiv may be assumed to be in a relatively early stage because the bridges have not yet been destroyed. Anticipate this possibility, and make sure you are on the right side of the bridges should they be blown up. This must henceforth be regarded as an imminent possibility. There may also be a loss of electricity and water at some point.
Low-flying Russian military helicopters' standard operating procedures may involve indiscriminate fire against ground targets using general purpose machine guns or similar automatic weapons. If you are a civilian outdoors and you see any evidence of Russian military helicopters, enter the nearest building immediately and stay there until the helicopters have passed; or you may die in the course of the helicopters' ground-targeted gunfire.
In other cities Russian armour is mostly waiting outside the cities, not yet entering the centre. However there are reports of a handful of violent incidents, mostly minor in nature. In some places Ukrainian armed forces are putting up a show of resistance and being killed as a result. There seem to have been some military activities in the Donbas, and around the city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov in particular; and also fighting in Kherson just to the north of Crimea.
Our advice for the time being is:
Henceforth, leaving Kyiv is probably more dangerous than staying there, if you are still in downtown Kyiv.
As street fighting gets underway in Kyiv, stay indoors 24 hours per day.
If you are in other cities, stay indoors as much as possible, leaving only for essential reasons.
Do not attempt intercity travel at the current time.
While the battle for Kyiv plays out, we anticipate that this advice is likely to remain in force for the next 48 to 72 hours at least.
UPDATE AS OF 04:15 ZULU Friday 25 February 2022
Ukraine seems generally calm.
Russian forces continue to find it impossible to take Antonov airstrip against Ukrainian special forces.
There are reports of Russian aeroplanes being shot out of the air above Kyiv, and debris from those aeroplanes falling on residential areas; civilian authorities are in attendance.
There has been a report that a missile struck a Ukrainian Border Service border post in Zaporizhya oblast, killing at least one member of the Ukrainian Border Service; this is a little odd because there are no Ukrainian borders in that oblast. Matters may or may not be clarified in the coming hours.
It is obvious that the only force that will remove Russian tanks from encircling Ukrainian cities is American intervention.
UPDATE AS OF 20:45 ZULU Thursday 24 February 2022
Ukrainian President Zelensky has ordered all Ukrainian special forces to retake Antonov airfield northwest of Kyiv. It is reported that there is an ongoing battle between Russian and Ukrainian special forces on the airfield.
It seems Zelensky is smarter than he looks. If the Russians can secure Antonov, then special forces can use it to fly in overnight and capture Zelensky and a proportion of the other senior Ukrainian politicians / businessmen on the Russian "arrest list"; and fly them to Moscow for "trial". If Zelenksy and his colleagues can hang on, then the United States might use "limited retaliation" using NATO cruise missiles based in Poland and Romania for Russian "border transgressions". Then the whole dynamic of the conflict changes. Zelensky has to hang on until the US military engages. If he can do this, then he wins.
UPDATE AS OF 18:30 ZULU Thursday 24 February 2022
Exit by Ukrainian citizens to countries on the western border are becoming increasingly difficult. All persons considering leaving Ukraine by such a border are advised to read this article in The Guardian, a British newspaper:
Our advice is as follows:
Poland will become increasingly nightmarish as a refugee destination from Ukraine, as demand ever more outstrips supply for refugee accommodation and medical services. Already it appears that people are walking across that border in the evening, in freezing weather. This may result in a lot of deaths, and hence it is to be avoided.
The Ukrainian-Hungarian border appears for practical purposes already closed.
The other borders between western Ukraine and other countries are all currently difficult to cross, for different reasons. We are monitoring all of them.
Our current advice remains to proceed to Odessa; but in the knowledge that there may be a substantial wait before it is calm and safe to cross the border.
It is our experience from dealing with acute refugee situations that the best course of action is to wait until refugee border traffic flow has become calm; and then to move, and to be prepared to do so quickly once the circumstances allow.
Hence patience is commended. It may take even a wealthy Ukrainian or a corporate employee of a foreign company some days or even a few weeks to get out of the country comfortably, even with expert guidance.
All other advice remains unchanged. In particular, we suggest that those wishing to leave Ukraine travel to Odessa for the weekend forthcoming, if they can; and that they contact us.
UPDATE AS OF 18:00 ZULU Thursday 24 February 2022
Russian airborne special forces have captured Antonov Airport (a/k/a Hostomel Airport) (GML / UKKM) northwest of Kyiv without destruction of the runway. This suggests that Kyiv will be taken by Russian special forces flown into that airport.
If you are in Kyiv, leave Kyiv by any means whatsoever.
Expect severe street fighting in Kyiv.
If you cannot leave Kyiv, stay indoors and do not leave for any reason whatsoever.
If contrary to the foregoing advice you do go outdoors, send women and old people who should walk slowly around central Kyiv with their hands high in the air at all times. Any person who does this is nonetheless risking death.
No person wearing any sort of uniform (police uniform, etcetera) should step outside from their homes or they may be immediately shot. Police stations and government buildings should be immediately abandoned and not returned to pending instructions of the Russian military.
UPDATE AS OF 17:00 ZULU Thursday 24 February 2022
+++ SERVICE UPDATE +++
We are currently anticipating re-opening evacuation services from Ukraine within 72 to 96 hours' time, that is to say at some point from Sunday to Monday 27 to 28 February 2022; from Odessa. However this window is being kept under constant review.
Start your preparations now.
We expect that people will be able to travel from other Ukrainian cities to Odessa, if they have an available private vehicle, with effect from some point during the weekend of Saturday to Sunday 26 to 27 February 2022.
To the best of our knowledge, all Ukrainian inter-city public transport is currently suspended, including aircraft, buses, marshrutkas (Ukrainian minibuses) and trains. None of this is likely to revert quickly. Therefore if you are to travel to Odessa to meet us, then you need to avail yourself of a private vehicle.
It is unwise to seek to travel in an expensive private vehicle. That is because you may alert the occupying Russian authorities to the possibility that one or more of the people in the vehicle are a person of interest. If you end up on that radar at a Russian military roadblock, it could potentially be catastrophic.
Ensure that the private vehicle has a garage check-up before travel, if possible. It is common for vehicles to break down in wartime scenarios. Obviously it is useful if a member of the travelling party has expertise in mending broken vehicles.
Do not travel in obvious convoy. This indicates military training: hence someone whose behaviour should be subjected to heightened scrutiny. For the same reason do not travel with things like two-way radios; men's military boots, etcetera.
At the current time, with the exception of Kyiv and L'viv, the principal road arteries of the city you are situated in are likely to be blocked by Russian tanks or other armour. Talking your way past those roadblocks is probably currently impossible; but it should become easier as the days pass without violent or political incidents in your city.
Plan your route to Odessa using backroads to the extent possible. Ask friends and colleagues where the Russian roadblocks are; and make enquiries of whether anyone knows people who have tried to pass them, and what the result was.
Also anticipate Ukrainian military road blocks.
As soon as you see a military roadblock in front of you, immediately reduce your speed to 30 kilometres per hour and gradually reduce gear to second as you approach the roadblock. When you can see the military personnel, put on your blinkers and continue driving at 30 kilometres per hour until you are waived through or stopped and questioned. Have all passports pre-prepared for the driver to hand over at the same time. Each passport photo page should be slotted into the photo pages of the other passports (so as to reduce the chance that the soldier decides to go through the passports looking at the stamps; nothing good can come of this). The driver should do all the talking.
A car full of military-age men is much more difficult to get past any sort of road block than a car full of women, elderly people, children or similar. Bear these things in mind. Split your military-aged men between vehicles.
In all cases create a cover story. You have relatives in Odessa. One of them is very sick. The local hospital has no medication and they cannot get out for food. The heating is cut and they are cold. That is why your vehicle is carrying medication, clothes and food.
Carry gasoline in plastic containers. Do not assume you will find any gasoline stations with anything to sell during the journey. Hence also carry a funnel.
We repeat: Do not carry firearms or other weapons. You cannot shoot your way through a Russian tank roadblock. (If you can, you hardly need our help.)
If you cannot or are not comfortable doing all these things, or you do not have access to a suitable vehicle; and you want us to collect you and transport you to Odessa and then onwards, then please let us know. Fees will be typically proportionate to the distance we travel on your behalf through unstable Ukrainian territory.
We remind you not to stay in Odessa hotels, for the reasons explained below. We will guide you to safe Odessa accommodation upon request. You may need to stay in Odessa for a few days, depending upon our risk assessments which are constantly changing.
If you have contacted us and paid us, then we will be following your travel to Odessa using a piece of software you have downloaded onto your mobile telephone and we will be in constant contact with you during your voyage. Ensure you are carrying extra batteries.
UPDATE AS OF 15:00 ZULU Thursday 24 February 2022
Russian media have reported that the declaration of war by Russian President Vladimir Putin aired at 05:00 EET this morning may have been pre-recorded. The Russian President was wearing the same shirt and tie and was seated at the same position at the same desk when he made his announcement of invasion this morning, as when he announced his recognition of the Russian-controlled territories on Monday.
In the circumstances, it is not clear who is in charge of the Russian invasion. This makes things all the more unpredictable.
However the most likely Russian military-political intention is assessed as removing the current Ukrainian government, replacing senior positions in the government with a group of other persons more agreeable to Moscow's interests (apparently a list of several hundred senior Kyiv politicians has been drawn up who are presumably to be removed to Moscow for trial and imprisonment, and being replaced), ensuring control over the Ukrainian army by restructuring it, and then leaving a tapering Russian military peacekeeping and capacity-building force in the country as the new government structures are developed.
If this forecast is correct, then the two cities that stand to be the subject of invasion and potentially heavy fighting are Kyiv and L'viv (L'vov in Russian, as it may come to be called) because that is where the principal organs of Ukrainian government are currently present. Russian troops are more likely to encircle L'viv and then hold off at the firing line of their major armour than for Kyiv, because some western embassies have relocated to L'viv. However Kyiv will be the subject of heavy fighting as the Russian military seeks to secure the principal organs of state against patriotic Ukrainian resistance. One may seek to understand the current Russian invasion is as a classic coup d'état albeit on a massive scale.
If that is right, then other Ukrainian cities aside from the above two will find themselves with cursory Russian military occupation of their centres, particularly outside prominent government buildings, within the next 24 to 48 hours. It already appears that all Ukrainian cities will be encircled (that is to say, their principal exit roads blocked by Russian armour) within the next 24 hours. Once calm is established, the Russian armour will slowly and one hopes peacefully roll into those city centres.
It follows that Kyiv is by far the most dangerous place to be, pending the forthcoming coup d'état.
Our current advice is that unless you are in Kyiv or L'viv, you stay exactly where you are at the current time. If you wish to flee, then stay in contact with services such as ours, providing full details; and as and when exit corridors open we will contact you to arrange your departure.
If you are in Kyiv, leave immediately for any other city if you can.
If you are in L'viv, cross the border immediately to Poland. If for some reason you cannot or do not want to do that, proceed to another city in the environs.
Wherever you are in Ukraine, you must understand that your city is either already encircled by Russian armour, or it is about to become so; and one way or another, you are likely to see Russian armour in the centre of your city fairly soon. Your priority is to keep yourself as safe as possible while this procedure continues.
Another option is to go to live in a small town or village for a while. The Russian military will probably mostly leave these alone, as they are strategically irrelevant.
If you leave your house, carry a flask of tea and biscuits in case you meet soldiers from either side. Being a soldier is a cold and unpleasant job, whichever army you are in; and all soldiers appreciate a bit of warmth and generosity from the civilian communities with whom they intermingle.
Avoid city centre hotels, because hotels are classic buildings to be commandeered by hungry, tired and cold soldiers; acts of rape, sexual assault, casual violence, drunkenness and other unattractive activities are possible should the military be undisciplined.
UPDATE AS OF 13:45 ZULU Thursday 24 February 2022
+++ ALL EVACUATIONS ARE SUSPENDED UNTIL FUTHER NOTICE +++
We anticipate Odessa being encircled by Russian armour at some point today.
We anticipate the same of L'viv at some point tomorrow although it is not possible to be accurate about timing. The border between L'viv and Poland may be the only exit remaining by nightfall today.
We advise Ukrainian citizens not to resist.
Either the US military will intervene under the guise of NATO or it will not.
In each of these alternatives, the actions that persons present in Ukraine should undertake to protect themselves will differ.
Nevertheless those wishing potentially to use our services (which may re-open at any time) should contact us.
UPDATE AS OF 12:30 ZULU Thursday 24 February 2022
Steps preliminary towards a full Russian ground assault on the rest of Ukraine (not just Donetsk an Luhansk) are now underway. As predicted, at the current juncture these appear to be focused upon shelling of runways, military facilities and strategic railways. It appears to the best of our information that Ukraine now has no internal or international civilian air connections. Her railways have also ceased to function.
Military facilities, including airports, are in the process of being shelled as this is written. Stay away from them and from railway stations and from railways.
Destruction of military infrastructure is taking place across the country, mostly through shelling by Russian ground forces and navy.
Stay indoors while this takes place. Shops, banks, petrol stations and pharmacies may already be useless with long queues; the Gryvna will soon collapse so forget trying to obtain Gryvnas for now. It seems that Privatbank website has been the subject of distributed denial of service attacks, presumably to prevent the wiring of money abroad.
If you are close to a border, use it immediately to flee using public buses or a car.
If not, then our is advice to proceed to Odessa (if you can) and to contact us.
We are now withdrawing our services in respect of Kharkiv, Kherson, Zaporizhiya and Dnipropetrovsk oblasts, as we understand there to be ongoing ground fighting between Russian ground forces and Ukrainian forces in those regions.
The Russian Army seems to be advancing extremely quickly in the southeast. It is adopting a strategy of taking empty ground while surrounding the cities, destroying military installations in the cities using shelling; while encircling the cities so as to make their inevitable capitulation a fait accompli.
One strategy we may follow is to wait for cities to fall and then reinstate our services, entering peaceful Russian-occupied territory. We continue to assess the situation hourly.
The updating of this webpage may become patchy; but we will do our best. We will respond to communications sent via the methods appearing on the contacts page of our website. Please read this webpage fully before contacting us. Please also read our webpage "How to survive a land invasion by the Red Army" (19 January 2022), www.the-paladins.com/post/how-to-survive-a-land-invasion-by-the-red-army
UPDATE AS OF 13:30 ZULU Tuesday 22 February 2022
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has now begun, with Russian military armour entering the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts earlier today.
Effective immediately, we are suspending our services to the entirety of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
All other advice remains in force.
We continue to recommend that those wishing to flee and to use our services to do so travel to Odessa using their own methods if they are able to do so, and then to contact us.
UPDATE AS OF 21:30 ZULU Sunday 20 February 2022
Further to the Munich Security Conference of NATO allies on Saturday 19 February 2022, we are of the view that it is increasingly likely that NATO intends to react using significant military force in response to any Russian invasion of Ukraine (the definition of which remains to be defined).
This makes continued presence in Ukraine all the more dangerous.
There are indications that NATO member states may be preparing to use subsonic or supersonic missiles (the latter traditionally used for strategic nuclear warhead delivery) to deliver high-explosive and/or tactical nuclear payloads against concentrations of Russian armour.
There is total NATO consensus that that there will be a Russian ground invasion. It may come in days or in weeks; but Russia's force positioning is not consistent with any other intention.
When the anticipated Russian invasion commences, our strong advice is to stay away from concentrations of Russian armour. Recall that the Tomahawk subsonic low-flying cruise missile is capable of medium-range highly accurate strikes of what are presumably higher payloads than previously.
There are indications that NATO is prepared to use armour located in Poland to occupy the L'viv oblast at the least, something whose consequences will be unpredictable.
For this reason, and because L'viv is likely to become overrun with military personnel, government officials, refugees and journalists, inter alia, we advise against all travel to the L'viv oblast unless you are already there with secure and tolerable accommodation.
When you retain us for our services and receipt of payment is confirmed, we will ask you to download an application onto your mobile telephone to assist in the process of connecting passenger and security team. We will ask you to familiarise yourself with this application very promptly. You may delete this application once you have left Ukraine for safe territory; but not before.
Please note that we do not undertake military evacuations using special forces, or similar. We imagine that very few if any governments will be prepared to offer these services. That is why you must act now.
UPDATE AS OF 10:30 ZULU Saturday 19 February 2022
On 18 February 2022 a large proportion of the populations of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic were instructed to leave those areas for Russian territory; and they did so. This may be part of the "military-technical" measures that the Kremlin has stated its intention to execute.
We are withdrawing services in respect of persons in those two territories, on the grounds that our security personnel undertake too high a risk in travelling to them. If you are in one of those territories, you must travel west before we can help you.
We understand that Russian FSB units have infiltrated the government structures of several Ukrainian oblasts. If they likewise instruct people to leave those regions for Russian territory, causing a population exodus, then it will be difficult or impossible for us to assist people in the regions being "cleansed" (for want of a better word).
Over the coming days, we imagine the possibility of our withdrawing services from persons situated in the rest of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (i.e. those parts notionally under current Ukrainian control); Kharkiv oblast; Dnipropetrovsk oblast; and Zaporizhia oblast. We are monitoring the situation.
Our advice to head to Odessa as soon as possible remains.
UPDATE AS OF 04:15 ZULU Friday 18 February 2022
The Kremlin has announced that it will be undertaking "military-technical procedures".
Having undertaken a risk assessment, The Paladins are withdrawing services transporting passengers to Russia and Belarus. These routes may still be available; but only where the entire party speaks Russian as its first language (something we cannot promise); and they may not be accessible by vehicle once an invasion begins. In other words, it may be a matter of walking over the relevant border without the protection of our security professionals.
We do not recommend attempting to cross from Ukraine to Russia or to Belarus, based upon current information.
We are encouraging passengers who require our services to travel immediately to Odessa, if this is possible, and then to contact us.
ORIGINAL TEXT Saturday 12 February 2022
The Paladins will remain available on a 24/7 basis as the Russian invasion of Ukraine unfolds. We will be ready to assist clients whatever scenario ultimately takes place. We can offer advice and assistance to persons and companies with Ukrainian investments who are concerned about them. We can also provide advice and extraction services to people who become stuck in Ukraine and will be unable to travel easily once the Russian armed forces are present in the country.
Please read all the numbered paragraphs below with attention and care before contacting us to place an order for our services. The way we operate is sophisticated and we need our passengers to cooperate with us carefully and intimately to ensure that journeys are undertaken safely and efficiently.
At the time of writing (Saturday 12 February 2022) the anticipated time and date of the Russian invasion is 0400 EET on Wednesday 16 February 2022. The Kremlin has given western countries a few days of grace to evacuate their embassies and citizens.
However the Russian government has made it clear that it will not permit the airports in Ukraine to remain upon for commercial traffic once the invasion begins.
Presumably the Russian Air Force will destroy all the country's principal runways and strategic rail corridors as part of an initial invasion push, to support a tank invasion.
It appears from Russian troop manoeuvres that there will be an assault upon Kyiv, which may see heavy street-to-street fighting if there is significant resistance.
The last commercial flights leaving Ukraine will presumably be on Tuesday 15 February. If you don't already have an air ticket out of the country, now is probably too late to buy one. Do not buy an air ticket for a date after 15 February, as you will probably just be wasting your money on a ticket for a flight that never flies.
Do not seek to leave Ukraine after 15 February using any of light aircraft, helicopters or private jets; the aircraft is highly likely to be shot down.
Nor should you attempt to leave Ukraine via ship (unless the ship has a Russian flag); the vessel will in all likelihood be sunk by the Russian navy.
Likewise, international train travel (and also domestic train travel) will be disrupted.
Western governments are currently recommending their citizens to leave Ukraine via the Polish border. As a result, the Polish border will likely become crammed with departing foreigners and refugees. The Polish borders are to be avoided. They may end up as freezing refugee camps with colossal delays.
Do not apply for refugee status or you will be treated very badly.
We are offering departure services using some of the country's other borders, including Russia, Belarus, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Moldova (Transdniestr). If you engage our services, then a two-man team will come to collect you in Ukraine and transport you across one of these borders to safety.
If you are a group of more than one person, then please let us know at the beginning of our discussions so we can consider what vehicle to use.
Corporate or mass extractions will take longer to prepare as resources will need to be increased proportionately.
If you want to use these services, then please contact us using any of the methods on our contact page except the telephone, to provide the following details.
We will need the full name, age, profession, nationality(ies), gender and various addresses of the person, together with the times at which they can typically be found at different addresses. Please also provide us with all email addresses, telephone numbers (and tell us which instant messaging service they use), and a passport photograph (sent electronically to us) of the person sitting straight and looking serious. Please also send us several recent photographs of that person in various different sorts of clothes (casual; formal, etc) to ease identification.
Please send us the Google Maps coordinates of the various addresses, and the Google Earth links to those addresses if possible.
Please send us a copy of the photo page of their passport (or passports, if they have more than one).
Please inform us which languages the person speaks. You may write to us however in any language convenient to you.
Please explain exactly where you want us to get this person or people to. If you just say "central Prague", then they will be dropped in central Prague. If there is a specific address you want them to go to, tell us what it is. If you want us to arrange accommodation at the end of the journey, tell us what sort of accommodation is sought; where it is sought (and in which part of a city); and for how long; we will then make prior arrangements.
Please convey any special circumstances that might make this person more difficult to transport around. (e.g. health issues; wanted by the Russians for crimes, etcetera).
We are content to work with the elderly and babies, but neither person in this category may travel alone; and each such person counts as an additional person for pricing purposes. Bring baby food and nappies.
Please confirm that the person wants to travel. We will not move people involuntarily, irrespective of circumstances.
We need to be told before fixing the price whether the person being transported is or was employed by the Ukrainian government or has any other unusual relationship with the same. Such people are potentially more at risk, and enhanced security measures will need to be taken.
We are content to pursue extractions of persons resident in unusual environments such as hospitals, military facilities or prisons; although fees will be correspondingly higher.
It will be extremely difficult to secure the release and travel either of persons taken as prisoners of war by the Russian armed forces, or otherwise detained by Russian officials. We will consider any such requests on a case-by-case basis, but fees are likely to run up to the low hundreds of thousands of dollars. If this person is particularly well-known, the associated fees will be even more.
We will then provide a price quote (it will be in the region of a few tens of thousands of dollars per person, depending on their location and circumstances and where they will be going to) and an invoice. Please inform us of the hard currency in which you wish to be invoiced; we are not prepared to invoice in local currencies (e.g. Gryvnas or Rubles). Please provide the payor's full name and address for the face of the invoice.
If street fighting begins in Kyiv, extractions from Kyiv are likely to become substantially more taxing and our prices may double compared to extractions from other parts of the country.
We may need to increase the prices as the war goes on, if the environment becomes increasingly taxing.
Please pay the invoice by bank transfer or other methods to be discussed; we require payment in advance and without guarantees of success. Travelling through war zones can be hazardous and unpredictable. No refunds will be given under any circumstances as our costs per journey are heavy.
We will then need 48 hours to process paperwork before commencing our travel, and we will let you know of an estimated pick-up time / date.
If the passenger(s) live(s) alone, take every effort to secure the premises for an indefinite period. As well as CCTV, burglar alarms etcetera (which may not be effective if the power is cut), consider placing araldite (an industrial adhesive) in the lock, to prevent it from being picked. Alternatively use twin-bottle epoxy resin. Potassium cyanoacrylate (superglue) is not adequate for this purpose.
We have a maximum capacity at present to undertake three voyages per week. That might increase.
The price will be all-inclusive of costs to the destination; nothing else will need to be paid. All meals will be provided but they may be basic.
We will seek to provide as good en route accommodation as is possible consistent with travel in a war zone. However some accommodation may be very basic and even dirty.
Please limit luggage to one suitcase per person, its contents themselves divided into smaller bags in case we need to abandon the suitcase; and a small personal item of the sort you would carry onto a small aircraft.
Warn us of food allergies; use of spectacles (carry at least two pairs with you); health and medical conditions; use of any pharmaceutical pills; whether the person smokes; whether they have addiction problems (e.g. alcohol or drugs) and everything we need to ensure their personal welfare while travelling.
We will provide you with a simple code to exchange confirmations of identity. Please use it upon pre-collection contacts with our security officials.
Your person and your travel belongings will be carefully searched by our security personnel upon first contact.
When we arrive, you will likely be departing on zero notice. So say goodbye to friends and family now. Carry chocolate bars, a bottle of a soft drink and vitamin tablets. You must have packed your luggage in advance and it must be ready, or we will depart without your luggage.
We ask all passengers to remain calm at all time during the transport, notwithstanding the inherent stress of the situation. Seek to obtain a course of benzodiazepenes (for example valium or Xanax) in advance of travel. If a person becomes so aggressive that it is not reasonable to continue travelling with them, then we reserve the right to leave them in the next available town or city. Drunkenness during the trip is unacceptable if it jeopardises mission objectives.
Any cash money a person wishes to carry with them should be wrapped in clingfilm and then taped to their ankle or lower leg. Do not bring Gryvnas; they are soon to become worthless. Do not rely upon Ukrainian bank cards; it is unclear whether they will continue to work after the beginning of the invasion.
The person travelling should wear shoes good for walking. Please inform us how far they can comfortably walk.
Do not bring firearms or other weapons.
Keep expensive jewellery out of sight. Dress as though you are poor or a villager for the trip. Women should not wear makeup. Bring a small unglamorous toiletries bag. Dress in a matter appropriate to the temperature at night.
Travel will likely be by car on backroads. The car will be uncomfortable and cheap, so that it can be abandoned if circumstances require it.
Understand that the work your security team is undertaking is complex and involves constant interactions with third persons and use of equipment not available to the general public. Hence please try to stay quiet during their work.
Bring essential documents, including all passports; do not bring unnecessary documents the revelation of which might be embarrassing. Do not bring large quantities of physical documents.
It may help if you bring a pre-loaded iPod or other Walkman, that does not require access to the internet. (Assume that for a lot of the journey you will be off-grid.)
Our trained and professional staff will take care of your personal safety.
All instructions en route by Security Personnel must be complied with unhesitatingly and without question.
In particular, you must turn off all electronic devices if/when a member of our security personnel instructs you to do so.
As and when we are stopped en route by various officials, be they Russian, Ukrainian or from third countries, you do not speak or hand the officials any documents. We are exclusively responsible for managing every encounter with officials.
Mobile phone use / reception may be very limited for part or all of the journey. Bring two good books and a small torch.
Germany, Austria and Switzerland should all be avoided as preferred destinations, because they are already overloaded with refugees. Generally avoid Western Europe at least initially.
Possible cities of destination include (without limitation) Moscow; Minsk; Bucharest; Prague; Brno; Chisinau; Budapest; Belgrade; Podgorica; Dubrovnik.
Services relating to residence permits at the place of destination can be provided, but at extra expense.
We do not undertake extractions to Turkey. The furthest we can get you in that direction is Bulgaria.
We owe no duties of care to anyone except the passengers we are being instructed to extract. Anyone getting in the way of our mission risks being the subject of measures to prevent them from continuing to interfere with our mission instructions, which cannot be changed once we are underway. Once our mission is confirmed by payment, there is no going back. If we cannot find our passenger, we will open doors by force and otherwise undertake aggressive searches until we find the person. You must be ready to leave at any time.
We will do anything we can to advise and assist you, and to remove you from Ukraine if that is what is necessary. To emphasise, staying in Ukraine may prove very dangerous if the Russian invasion is resisted; and even if it is not, then staying in large cities may prove dangerous as unpredictable military actions may be taking place.
We are here to serve, and we look forward to hearing from you if you need to use our services.