Guidance

Staying safe in Ukraine

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.

Travel Advice

Please read up on information about Ukraine and the destinations that you will be visiting. Follow us on Twitter for any updates while you’re in Ukraine: @UKinUkraine and @FCOTravel.

ID

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.

Crime

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.

Useful Numbers

Police emergency 102

Ambulance 103

Hints & 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 streetwise

  • 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.

Published 12 May 2017