Nine different rules have been issued, according to Sky News, each centered on the use of mobile phones anywhere near the front lines. Ukrainian soldiers were advised to leave their own SIM cards at home and buy a new one in the conflict zone. There is also a disclaimer stating that soldiers should not accept SIM cards from locals, as there is a risk of an implanted spy distributing cards for tracking and surveillance purposes. Regardless of the operator or the type of SIM card, the enemy can listen to calls at any time, so short and non-specific conversations are necessary.
In order to make a phone call, soldiers must march at least 1,600 feet from their squad positions. An armed friend must accompany them at all times and also cover briefing notes for them. Similarly, everyone is encouraged or even ordered to watch each other and make sure no one slips up and turns on their phone when they are unsure of doing so. Calls should be made in areas populated by civilians, with a strong preference for towns recently liberated from the Russian military.
Ukrainian soldiers have to drastically limit their phone use, which means far less contact with family than most of them would like. The families of those fighting on the front line are often distant, some of them having fled the country, and they receive little information about their relatives. This is what makes these rules all the more heartbreaking, but also very necessary.