Overall Crime and Safety Situation
U.S. Embassy Kyiv does
not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the
persons or firms appearing in this report. The ACS Unit cannot recommend a
particular individual or location and assumes no responsibility for the quality
of service provided.
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED KYIV
AS BEING A HIGH-THREAT LOCATION FOR
CRIME DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.
Please review OSAC’s Ukraine-specific
webpage for proprietary analytic reports, Consular Messages, and contact
Although thousands of
U.S. citizens visit Ukraine each year without incident, the country crime
rating remains high.
In Kyiv, authorities
reported more than a 15% increase in crime in 2016 over 2015 statistics. The
number of property crimes (theft, burglaries, armed assaults, fraud)
constituted more than half of all criminal offenses reported. Notably,
according to government statistics, there were five times as many registered
assault cases in 2016 than 2015. Registered assault cases throughout Ukraine
more than doubled during the same period.
The most common types
of non-violent property crime affecting the expatriate community include
pickpocketing, theft from parked vehicles, street scams, and residential
burglaries. Residential burglaries are typically committed by forced entry when
the occupant is not at home, or they occur as crimes of opportunity when doors
are left unlocked.
Reports of drugging of
drinks on trains continued in 2016, with the majority of victims claiming to
lose consciousness and being robbed while unconscious. Discussions with medical
personnel suggest that this activity is more common on overnight trains.
There is particular
need to pay close attention to one’s surroundings and belongings while in
crowded public places, walking on crowded streets and through underground malls/crossovers,
and while using public transportation.
Scam" remains a common confidence scam used by criminals to victimize
foreigners. In many cases, these incidents occur at locations frequented by
foreigners (high-end and Western hotels, Saint Sophia’s Cathedral, Saint
Michael’s Cathedral, the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, Andriyivskyi Uzviz). In 2015, the
Embassy received several reports of the wallet scam occurring outside shopping
malls including Gulliver, Ocean Plaza, and the Cosmopolit Mall and at large
event venues (Palats Sportu, Olympiski Stadium). There are many variations to
this scam, but all involve an attempt to get the victim to pick up an item
containing currency. The typical scam involves a suspect who seemingly inadvertently
drops a wallet or a plastic bag in front of a potential victim. The suspect asks
the victim if the wallet/bag belongs to him/her. Or, the victim picks the
wallet/bag up and returns it the person who dropped it. The suspect tries to
get the victim to handle the money in the wallet/bag or will handle/count the
currency himself. The suspect then states that money is missing and loudly/aggressively
(but not violently) accuses the victim of stealing the money. The suspect will
threaten to call the police to panic the victim. Then an accomplice interjects
by introducing himself as a police officer and flashes identification to the
victim. The police officer will ask the victim to produce his or her wallet to
ensure the victim did not take the money. The officer will then count the money
in front of the victim. Victims often hand over their wallets without
hesitation to the police officer. When the wallet is produced, the criminal(s)
may grab it and flee, or more often, steal a large portion of the victim’s
money by sleight of hand. If presented with this or any variant, do not pick up
the wallet/bag, walk away, and do not engage the perpetrators in conversation.
Foreigners are more likely to be confronted with this confidence scam since
they do not know local laws. American citizens are heavily targeted.
Marriage and dating
scams via the Internet are routinely reported. There have been numerous
instances of U.S. citizens being extorted for thousands of dollars by Internet
contacts they thought were friends, loved ones, or romantic interests. These
Internet scams include lotteries, on-line dating/introduction services, and
requests from a “friend” in trouble.
Due in part to the
ongoing conflict in the east, illegal weapons-related crimes continued to
increase in 2016.
involving ATMs and credit cards is prevalent and continues to be a concern,
occurring on a regular basis.
affecting services within Ukraine remains a major concern for U.S. government
and Ukrainian authorities. In recent years, U.S. law enforcement pursued a number
of joint cybercrime/identity theft investigations with Ukrainian law
enforcement authorities. The Embassy strongly recommends utilizing a Virtual
Privacy Network (VPN) for personal internet usage.
officials, private sector experts, and journalists report that Ukraine
experiences several hundred to several thousand cyberattacks against government
ministries and information portals each month. These have included
run-of-the-mill denial-of-service attacks, which prevent users from connecting
to a site or server for a limited period, to attacks that defaced
publicly-accessible information and service portals—often with a political
Other Areas of Concern
The Department of State
warns U.S. citizens to defer all travel to the eastern regions of Donetsk, Luhansk,
and the Crimean peninsula. Russian-backed separatists continue to control areas
in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. These groups have established illegal
checkpoints and have threatened, detained, or kidnapped individuals, including
U.S. citizens, for hours or days. Travelers to, in, near, or through these
areas are subject to threats of mines and other unexploded ordnance (UXO), as
well as sniper and other small arms fire exchanges. As the situation is
constantly changing, American citizens traveling to Ukraine should read the
most recent Travel
Warning for Ukraine.
Travel is restricted
and controlled for a 30-kilometer radius surrounding the Chernobyl Nuclear
Road Safety and Road
Vehicles are left-side
drive and drive on the right side of the road (as in the U.S.). Traffic in Kyiv
is heavy on weekdays during commuting hours, and travel in the city during
workdays is often delayed due to heavy, unexpected (and often, inexplicable)
traffic patterns. Main thoroughfares are usually well-illuminated and
maintained, but side streets and less commonly used avenues in/outside of Kyiv
are often poorly illuminated, narrow, and poorly maintained. Driving can be a
challenge to foreigners. Local drivers routinely disregard traffic laws
(excessive speeding, driving the wrong way on one-way streets, driving in
oncoming lanes to maneuver around blocked traffic, driving on sidewalks). Using
sidewalks for parking is an accepted practice, and pedestrians, especially
those with small children, should exercise caution. Cars also routinely drive
on sidewalks, especially in central Kyiv, moving to/from sidewalk parking, much
of it illegal. Drivers should also be alert for pedestrians, who often cross
busy streets where they can and without hesitation. Drivers should be prepared
to stop on short notice and drive defensively.
Most highways and roads
in smaller towns are not illuminated, and emergency services are not reliable
or prompt. Therefore, driving outside of major cities during hours of darkness
should be undertaken with caution. Snow removal can be haphazard, especially
along secondary roads, and the subsequent snowfall and ice build-up can cause
considerable traffic delays and parking problems.
Due to heavy traffic
and local driving habits, vehicle accidents are common. Motorists involved in
accidents are not permitted to move the vehicles unless they present a clear
safety concern. Fender benders routinely tie up traffic. Police must be
notified and will come to conduct an investigation. Be prepared to wait until
the police arrive and complete their report. Although the introduction of the
Patrol Police has reduced response time, traffic issues and limited resources
outside of major cities continue to delay the arrival of police and ambulances.
When police arrive, they will ascertain responsibility, take drivers' personal
information, and file an accident report.
Ukraine has an
extensive train, bus, subway, and airport transportation system. Some of the
larger cities also have above-ground trolleys and small shuttle buses (marshrutkas). Buses and trolleys in Kyiv
break down on a regular basis, often causing delays in commuting, but are
generally considered safe to use. When riding public transportation, keep
purses, shoulder bags, and backpacks closed, in front of you, or tucked under
your arm to prevent theft.
In 2013, The U.S.
Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced
that Ukraine complies with the international safety standards set by the
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
A restricted air space
zone exists over Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. On July 17, 2014, a Malaysia
Airlines civilian aircraft was shot down in an area controlled by
Russian-backed separatists, killing 297 people.
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF
STATE HAS ASSESSED KYIV AS BEING A MEDIUM-THREAT
LOCATION FOR TERRORIST ACTIVITY DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S.
GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.
Local, Regional, and International Terrorism
Bomb threats to government buildings, metro
stations, shopping malls, and train stations are received on an almost daily
basis throughout the country. While Ukrainian authorities continue to respond
appropriately to all threats, the vast majority were hoaxes.
There continue to be
acts of low-level terrorism targeting Ukrainian government establishments that
have primarily resulted in property damage. Seizures of caches of weapons are
common, and intermittent reports of individual use of grenades and similar
ordnance to settle disputes underscores the availability of weapons.
The response to these
threats by the Ukrainian security services has been deliberate, coordinated,
and increasingly pro-active.
In the early morning of
July 20, 2016, a prominent journalist was assassinated by a car bomb in
downtown Kyiv. Investigated extensively, there have been no arrests in the case.
Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED KYIV
AS BEING A HIGH-THREAT LOCATION FOR
POLITICAL VIOLENCE DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.
From November 2013 to
February 2014, Ukraine witnessed civil unrest in almost every major city during
the EuroMaidan protests (the Revolution of Dignity). What began as peaceful
pro-EU demonstrations, culminated in the deaths of more than 100 unarmed
protestors on February 20 and the flight of the then President on February 22.
(For more detail, please see 2014 Ukraine Crime and Safety Report here.)
In March 2014, Russian
forces illegally invaded the Crimean peninsula and continue to occupy Crimea in
support of the Russian Federation’s claim of Crimean annexation. The U.S. and
Ukraine do not recognize this annexation.
In early April 2014,
pro-Russian separatists occupied government buildings in the eastern Oblasts of
Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kharkiv. While pro-Russian separatists were expelled from
Kharkiv, the situation in Donetsk and Luhansk deteriorated into a war between
the Ukrainian military and the Russian-backed separatists. Multiple ceasefires
and diplomatic negotiations, most prominently the Minsk Agreements, have not brought
about peace, and armed conflict occurs on a daily basis.
Since the fall of the
former government, demonstrations, marches, and commemorations continue to
occur regularly throughout the center of Kyiv. These events are mostly
peaceful, and most are aimed at persuading the current government to continue with
reform efforts or pursuing charges of crimes against humanity against former
government members during the Revolution.
demonstration held outside the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament) in August
2015 escalated when a participant threw an explosive device at National
Guardsmen, killing four.
In general, it is
advisable to avoid large demonstrations and crowds, even peaceful ones, as they
may become violent without warning and may attract petty criminals and
hooligans. However, if attending such events, it is always best to remain on
the perimeter of crowds and identify easy exit routes should problems
There have been reports
of religious and ethnic violence being carried out by individuals affiliated
with hate groups. Crimes directed against non-Slavic and religious minorities
Flooding has occurred
in western Ukraine, particularly in the Carpathian Mountains during the spring
thaw. The last major flood reported was in 2010.
In 1986, the Chornobyl
Nuclear Power Plant (unit no. 4), located 90 kilometers northwest of Kyiv,
experienced an explosion and fire, followed by an uncontrolled release of
radiation. The accident resulted in the largest, short-term, accidental release
of radioactive materials in the atmosphere ever recorded. The highest areas of
radioactive ground contamination occurred within 30 kilometers of the station.
A favorable wind direction kept most of the contamination away from Kyiv,
although the capital city was not spared completely. The Plant's last operating
reactor closed on December 15, 2000. The Embassy maintains a close cooperative
relationship with authorities responsible for monitoring the radiological and
operational conditions at nuclear facilities.
Gas is an area of
concern due to increased tension with Russia. The government is working
long-term to increase energy efficiency and diversify its gas purchases away
Shortage of fuel and
insufficient electricity remain a concern into 2017.
There is a lack of
intellectual property rights protection that is evident in the very weak
enforcement efforts, the continued use of unlicensed (pirated) software within
the government and private sectors, the widespread sale of counterfeit retail
merchandise, the transshipment of counterfeit goods, the rampant Internet
piracy, and the overabundance of rogue music royalty collection societies
(collecting royalties without distributing any of the royalties to legitimate
rights holders). In 2015, the U.S. government moved Ukraine from the Special
301 “Priority Foreign Country” designation to the “Priority Watch List” in
response to the reform-minded government efforts. However, the government has
made no tangible progress in addressing IPR concerns.
While most foreigners
do not encounter problems with violent crime, there is potential for
racially-motivated attacks. Victims have reported verbal harassment, discrimination,
and physical assaults. All foreigners – even those who are not racial
minorities – should be aware of this situation and exercise an appropriate
level of caution. Slow response to hate crimes is a continuing concern,
although senior government officials have publicly deplored these hate crimes.
There were a few
incidents involving threats or attacks on members of Ukraine’s LGBTQI community,
including an organized protest against an LGBTQI gathering in Lviv that turned
In general, Ukrainian
law enforcement agencies do not meet U.S./Western European standards, and their
ability to adequately investigate criminal incidents is still evolving. While
significant progress has been made in the form of the Patrol Police in Kyiv and
several major cities, response time remains below Western standards, and case
resolution fell dramatically.
required to carry personal identification documents, and local law enforcement
may stop people on the street to conduct identification checks. No probable
cause is required. Therefore, the Embassy recommends that visitors carry
Crime Victim Assistance
Fire emergency tel: 101
Police emergency tel: 102
medical services tel: 103
These numbers can be
used in Kyiv and in major cities; however, there may not be an English-speaking
Corruption remains a
persistent concern in Ukraine (Transparency International’s 2016 corruption
perceptions index lists Ukraine tied with Russia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, and Iran
at 131 out of 176 surveyed countries). Law enforcement agencies have been
viewed as part of the problem rather than a part of the solution, but there has
been progress in reforms and the establishment of the ‘New Police,’ and the new
government has made fighting corruption a priority. Despite efforts to promote
knowledge of English, police units rarely possess English-language capability,
even among officials working in units designated to combat crimes against
foreign nationals. As a result, reporting a crime to the police is often a
difficult and lengthy process. Subsequent follow-up to determine the status of
a case often requires lengthy visits to police stations.
The Embassy recommends
that Americans report crimes to the police and to the Embassy. In the event
that police do not accept a crime report, the U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section’s
American Citizen Services can forward the complaint to the police. Reporting a
crime is also advisable even if time has elapsed since the crime occurred, as
criminals often repeat the same crime within the same general locale. Finally,
a police report also is strongly recommended when an American passport has been
lost or stolen.
If you are an American
citizen in need of emergency assistance, please call U.S. Embassy Kyiv at
+38-044-521-5566 during regular business hours or +38-044-521-5000 after hours.
The National Police
under the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) is the civilian police
The SBU (Security
Service of Ukraine) is the main government security agency dealing with
counterintelligence issues and combating terrorism.
The State Border Guard
Service of Ukraine (SBGS) controls borders and points of entry.
Medical facilities do not meet Western
standards. Travelers with pre-existing conditions should carefully consider
whether adequate care would be available during a trip to Ukraine. Travelers
who have chronic medical conditions that require medication should bring enough
medicine since medicine may not be readily available in-country. Furthermore,
narcotic pain relievers may not be imported into Ukraine even in small
quantities and with a prescription. For more information, please refer to
OSAC’s Report, “Traveling with
Contact Information for
Available Medical Services
Minor Emergencies &
Routine Care in Kyiv
Mykoly Bazhana 12a (12а, проспект Миколи Бажана), Kyiv
24-HOUR PHONE: 238-0000
Address: 8, Kondratyka
24-HOUR PHONE: 503-7777
Main Military Clinical
Hospital of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
24 hours a day
Gospitalnaya Street, Kyiv
24 hour phone: 269-7095
National Emergency and
24 hours a day
24 hour Information
24 hour Admittance
24 hour Multi-Trauma
24 hour Hospital
Resuscitation/Intensive Care Department: 518-7020
Kyiv Heart Institute
5a Bratislavska St., Kyiv,
Mon-Fri, 0800 – 1600
To schedule a visit (for
adults) from 0800 to 1530 by phone numbers: +380 (44) 291-61-31 or +380 (44)
513-24-46 or +380 (50) 746 74 47 or +380 (97) 746 74 47
In order to be admitted
to one of the private hospitals a call to the hospital must be made in advance.
Available Air Ambulance Services
(24/7 phone) -Moscow
TRICARE/SOS (for U.S.
military): 00 44-20-8762-8133 (24/7 phone) -London
EURO FLITE: 00
358-20-510-1900 (24/7 phone) -Finland
Corporation: 00 410-453-6330 (24/7 phone) -US
There are several
European firms that provide private jet evacuations, and the AMC and Boris
Clinic in Kyiv can organize and assist with evacuation for a fee. Aero medical
evacuation companies that service Ukraine include: SOS, EURO FLITE, MEDEX
Assistance Corporation, and TRICARE/SOS (for military personnel). Boris Clinic
has a limited agreement with Tricare. Contact information for additional
insurance and medevac companies can be found on the Embassy's
We encourage Americans to
purchase traveler's insurance before arriving and to familiarize themselves
with the conditions of their existing medical coverage and medical resources in
Ukraine or they should have access to substantial lines of credit to cover the
cost of medical evacuation. The fastest way to secure Western medical care
remains medical evacuation to Western Europe. This is a very expensive option,
and assistance may not arrive until several hours after the need for care
Country-specific Vaccination and Health
The government has a
service to control fresh foods and meats, but it is difficult to confirm its
effectiveness. Wild berries, wild fowl and game, and mushrooms should be
avoided if originating from areas surrounding Chernobyl, as these have been
found to retain higher than average levels of radiation. Radiation background
levels vary in different areas depending on natural/geological conditions,
industrial development levels, and specific industries. In Ukraine, the
allowable limit for the background radiation is 25 microrems per hour. Since
1987, levels exceeding that figure have not been observed in Kyiv, and the
average and constant numbers for Kyiv are 12-14 microrems/hour. Daily readings
on the background radiation are posted on the Ministry
of Emergencies website.
Tap water is not
potable. It is safe for bathing and cooking in large cities.
The CDC offers
additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Ukraine.
OSAC Country Council Information
The Kyiv Country
Council currently meets four times a year and has approximately 50 members.
Please contact OSAC’s Europe team with
any questions or to join.
U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information
Embassy Address and
Hours of Operation
U.S. Embassy Kyiv
4 Aircraft Designer
Igor Sikorsky Street, Kyiv, Ukraine 04112
Вул. Авіаконструктора Ігоря Сікорського, 4, Київ, Україна 04112
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri,
Embassy Contact Numbers
Country Code: 380
Kyiv City Code: 44
From another country:
From within Ukraine:
U.S. Consular Section:
(38-044) 521-5460, fax (38-044) 521-5425
Services: (38-044) 521-5566, fax (38-044) 521-5544
Office: (38-044) 521-5515
Embassy Kyiv Website: http://kyiv.usembassy.gov
The Embassy strongly
recommends that all Americans visiting or residing in Ukraine register with the
U.S. Consulate in Kyiv. Registration will permit the Consulate to contact
American citizens quickly in the event of an in-country emergency. On-line
registration is available at on the Smart
Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) website.
Country Information Sheet