Is it Safe to Travel to Kiev, Ukraine now?
- Is it safe to travel to Ukraine in April 2017?
- Is it safe to travel to Kiev in July 2017?
- Will Kiev, Ukraine be safe for Americans in the summer of 2017?
- Should I travel to Ukraine?
- Has safety for American travel in Ukraine changed because of the new administration?
- How safe is it to live in Kiev and in Ukraine?
- Is it safe to travel to Kiev and Odessa, Ukraine right now?
- How safe is Kiev, Ukraine for American tourists?
- What is the current situation in Donbass/Ukraine war?
These are the questions which I’ve been constantly receiving from the people in “Quora” – a question-and-answer site, where I’m one of the most-viewed authors on topics about Kiev and Ukraine. So I decided to write this post and to give all the answers in one place.
Terror attacks in Europe
The truth is that Ukraine is safer than other Western European countries nowadays. Let’s quickly recollect the major acts of terrorism in Europe for the last 3 years.
- May 23. Manchester. A terrorist attack during the concert of American singer Ariana Grande at the city stadium “Manchester Arena”. Nearly twenty people died.
- April 3. St. Petersburg. An explosion on the stretch between two metro stations. Fourteen people died, more than fifty people are injured.
- March 22. London. The criminal on the car knocked down several people car along the Westminster. Four people died. Twelve people were injured.
- December 19. Berlin. A truck with an ISIS terrorist driver rammed a fair in the center of Berlin, 12 people were killed, 48 were hospitalized.
- July 14. Nice (France). A truck driver rammed through a crowd of people who gathered on the Promenade des Anglais to watch fireworks on the occasion of the Bastille Day. Eighty-four people were the victims of the attack.
- March 22. Brussels. A series of terrorist attacks in Brussels: explosions at the airport and the metro. 34 people died.
The extent of the terrorist acts in Paris in 2015 shocked the world community. These were the most bloody terrorist attacks in Europe since the explosions in suburban trains in Madrid in 2004. As a result of a series of terrorist attacks 120 people died.
Is it safe to travel to Ukraine?
What about Ukraine? All the terrorist attacks which Ukraine experienced for the last two years occurred in Donetsk and Lugansk regions where the Ukrainian Army struggles against the active armed forces of the Russian Federation and separatists’ bands of the self-proclaimed republics.
As for the terror attacks which were committed by the Russian secret special services in Kiev against the journalist Pavlo Sheremet – a Belorussian, Russian, and Ukrainian TV journalist and Denis Voronenkov – an escaped Deputy of the State Duma of Russia. These two murders might be considered as an unequivocal message to those Russian citizens who emigrated to Kiev and continue to criticize Putin’s regime, being (as it may seem to them) safe in the territory of a neighboring state.
- According to Numbeo Crime Index by a city, Kiev is safer than Dublin, Ireland, Brussels, Belgium, Athens, Greece; Birmingham, Malmo, Sweden and Chicago, IL, United States. Crime Index by City 2017
- Ukraine’s average Crime Index is slightly above the US’s World map of Crime Index for 2017.
How safe is Kiev, Ukraine?
This year Kiev (Kyiv) is hosting Eurovision Song Contest 2017, Ice Hockey World Championship Division 1. And I really doubt that any governmental and public authorities, both Ukrainian and European, would let the great events happen in Kiev if it was dangerous for international tourists. Moreover, it was the reason to double check the safety level in the city and make Kiev the safest place in Europe.
Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev was held without any excesses, and European authorities positively assessed the organization of the song contest. Head of Eurovision Contest Jon Ola Sand mentioned that the Eurovision Song Contest in Ukraine has passed “flawlessly”. About 10 thousand law enforcement officers were involved in ensuring security. Foreign tourists were surprised by a large number of security at all Eurovision Contest events.
I would like to emphasize that we have a newly reformed police on the basis of American police system. A foreigner can address the police officer in English and ask for any information or assistance he needs. In case of any unpleasant accident, the police will appear immediately, especially in the city center.
In fact, Ukraine is safer than France and Germany now, because we don’t have the immigration crisis which was caused in Europe by the political chaos in the Middle East and economic situation in the African countries. The migration flow that poured into Europe in the spring of 2015 differs from the previous ones both in scale and reason – mostly people fled from the civil wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan. By the beginning of 2015, there are nearly 4 million refugees and almost 8 million internally dislocated persons in Western Europe.
There are no strong organizations of skinheads in Kiev, Ukraine, as well as ultra-nationalist movements. The main reason, I guess, is the mental peacefulness of Ukrainian nation. Must be noticed that almost half of the violent representatives of the skinhead movements from all over the world live in Russia, as mentioned the American newspaper San Francisco Chronicle. There are approximately 50,000 skinheads on the territory of Russian Federation, representing the “vanguard” of aggressive ultra-nationalists.
Recommendations for tourists in Kiev
- The main and the first advice is – don’t go to the ATO area in the East of Ukraine (Donetsk and Lugansk regions). Better avoid visiting the Eastern part of the country at all.
- While choosing an accommodation place in Kiev focus on the central part of the city – this will save your time and nerves.
- Avoid any political demonstrations, huge gatherings of people in Kiev (if there are any).
- Do not enter into political disputes with unfamiliar people. You can never predict a degree of embitterment of politically savvy people, either pro-Ukrainian or pro-Russian.
- I do not recommend to visit Hydropark area (a popular recreational park on the Dnieper River) in the evening. The primary contingent there can possess unflattering social and cultural characteristics. There may be many drunk men.
- There are pickpockets in tourist areas, shopping centers, underground walkways. So mind your pockets and wallets.
- Tap water is not recommended for drinking in Kiev, it’s better to buy purified bottled water, which is presented in a great variety at any grocery store.
- Drinking beer in the streets and other public places is prohibited. You may be fined for that.
- It is forbidden to smoke in public places, better do that in special zones for smoking.
- Hire a private tour guide in Kiev and you will be totally safe!
During my private Kiev tours, I always ask the tourists whether they worried about safety before coming to Kiev. And they tell me that, really, when they mention to some of their relatives or friends about the plans to visit Kiev, the latter show surprise and try to dissuade them from coming to Kiev, Ukraine. These are mostly people who watch TV a lot. And during the last two years, the Russian propaganda has become a global phenomenon, a source of evil and lies against Ukraine. That’s why I highly recommend all the tourists to check the information directly from the people who live in Kiev, Ukraine. Before making any hasty conclusions.
Welcome to Ukraine! Welcome to Kiev!