Counter-Strike is a so-called multiplayer first-person shooter game
Counter-Strike is a so-called multiplayer first-person shooter game AFP / Jonathan NACKSTRAND


  • The secret room inside the game contains a map of all areas Russia shelled amid the war
  • The map has been created by Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat
  • The newspaper is using the map to give information to Russians amid Moscow's media censorship

A map inside a popular first-person shooter game has been found to contain a "secret room" where sensitive information about the war in Ukraine is displayed, according to a report.

The "secret room," which appears on a map called <<de_voyna>> in the online shooter game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), contains information from Finnish journalists about Russia's losses in the war in Ukraine as well as a list of their war crimes, such as shelling civilian infrastructures, the shooting of Ukrainian citizens and mass graves where Ukrainian residents were buried.

The walls of the secret room also showed other information related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, including a map of all areas Moscow's troops shelled amid the war, images of damaged Ukrainian homes and photographs of graves where dead Russian soldiers were buried.

The map was created by Finland's largest daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat in an attempt to bring information about Russia's invasion of Ukraine to light. The map resembles a European city with two bomb planting sites, one inside a warehouse and the other near a monument in the city square.

De_voyna was first released on video game distribution service Steam at the start of May, with a description that read: "On the surface, it seems like a normal Slavic city. However, there might be something hidden underneath."

Antero Mukka, the editor-in-chief of Helsingin Sanomat, said the idea of putting war information inside a video game stemmed from Russia's media censorship. Last year, Russia blocked its residents from accessing Facebook and other major foreign news outlets. It has also imposed up to 15 years imprisonment for people or companies that spread "false information" about its invasion of Ukraine.

"As we have been widely concerned about the press freedom situation and freedom of speech in Russia, we decided that maybe it's possible to find some new channels to provide [the] Russian audience with some reliable, independent journalism for example about the situations in Ukraine," Mukka told Reuters. "If some young men in Russia, just because of this game, happen to think for a couple of seconds what is going on in Ukraine then it's worth it."

Mukka noted that they asked U.S.-based private game maker Valve Corporation for permission to create and release the map.

After Russia invaded in February last year, photographer Arseniy Gerasymenko felt he needed to contribute to the war effort