Information for British nationals living in Ukraine, including travel advice, hints and tips and more.
Staying safe in Ukraine
Tips to avoid being a victim of a crime
Most visits to Ukraine are trouble free. However, as with any country, there are risks which all visitors should be aware of. This leaflet aims to outline the most pertinent issues and offers some advice on how best to ensure you are not a victim of crime, accidents or other mishaps.
Ukrainian law requires you to carry your passport. Local law enforcement officials may stop pedestrians and vehicles to conduct ID checks. Police officers should be in uniform and carry official ID. Scams have been reported of fraudsters posing as police to extract money from visitors. If you’re unsure whether someone who says they are a police officer is genuine, ask them to go with you to the nearest police station.
Be alert to the possibility of street crime and petty theft, and that foreigners may appear to be lucrative targets.
Pick-pocketing is most commonly reported in crowded areas, particularly on public transport, at train and bus stations, at hotels, near exchange offices, in bars and restaurants. Thieves may use distraction techniques, often work in teams and tend to target money and passports. Don’t carry all your valuables in one place, and remember to keep a copy of your passport somewhere safe. Carry your bag in front of you or tucked under your arm and keep all zips and fasteners closed. Keep wallets, mobiles in a secure inside pocket. Keep an eye on your belongings at all times, especially when leaving bags and rucksacks in the luggage area of buses, tubes or trains.
Violent crimes and muggings occur rarely, but mostly late at night when people are walking alone and in secluded, dark areas of the city, and could be under the influence of alcohol. Avoid doing this.
Scams are practised in the city centre, especially near bars, and may involve an attempt to get the victim to pick up or handle a wallet, a credit card or a bundle of money. Should you see money on the pavement, ignore it, carry on your way and do not allow yourself to be engaged by a stranger.
Credit card fraud: Check that the cash-point machine that you choose to use has not been tampered with. If you have to withdraw a large amount of cash in public places, do so inside the bank and secure your cash prior to leaving the building.
Xenophobia: In some cases attacks on visitors have been racially motivated. Travellers of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent and individuals belonging to religious minorities should take extra care.
LGBT visitors: Be aware that public attitudes to homosexuality are less tolerant than in the UK. Public displays of affection may attract negative attention.
Road travel: Care should be taken when driving, particularly at night or in bad weather. Accidents may be caused by road conditions, road user driving skills, vehicle speed, and the nonuse of seatbelts.
Taxis: Only use official taxis which display the name and telephone number of the taxi company. Taxis can be booked over the phone or with the help of SmartPhone apps and you will be provided with the fare quote and vehicle registration number beforehand. Unregulated taxi drivers operate at the airports and elsewhere and they commonly overcharge. Agree a fare in advance, or you might find yourself arguing over the price, and this can lead to unwanted and unnecessary confrontation.
Reporting a crime to police
To report a crime, visit the nearest police station. The local police will speak Ukrainian. If you don’t speak the local language you will need to take a translator with you.
If you need to make an insurance claim for any lost or stolen belongings, you will need to report the loss/theft and obtain a police report.
Police emergency 102
Hints and tips for a safe trip to Ukraine:
read travel advice before going abroad
when travelling overseas it is important to take out travel insurance; an emergency abroad can be extremely expensive
be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times
keep family / friends / colleagues informed about your whereabouts
keep your credit card and PIN safe; keep track of your payments and your receipts; withdraw money from cash-point machines inside the bank; avoid withdrawing and carrying large sums of cash
keep valuables and money out of sight in crowded areas and tourist spots
do not carry unnecessary items in your wallet or bag that you will not use
if you see someone drop a wallet or similar in front of you, walk away without engaging in conversation with a stranger
avoid walking alone late at night and in secluded dark areas
be careful when driving, especially at night and outside urban areas
remove all valuables from your vehicle when you park, or store items of sight
take special care not to leave jackets or bags containing wallets or passports unattended if you’re in a restaurant or bar
do not leave drinks unattended and beware of accepting drinks in bars from casual acquaintances as they could be spiked
alcohol and drugs can make you less vigilant, less in control and less aware of your environment. If you drink, know your limit as local drinks are often stronger than those in the UK
respect others and do not use loud or abusive language
remember that genuine police officers may ask you to show them your passport for identification purposes but will not ask to see wallets or purses.