Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–March 21, 2014. The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Ukraine and to defer all travel to the Crimean Peninsula and eastern regions of Kharkiv, Donetsk and Lugansk due to the presence of Russian military forces in the Crimean Peninsula, and in Russia near the Ukrainian border. Russia is taking actions in support of its attempt to annex the Crimean Peninsula and is likely to continue to take further actions in the Crimean Peninsula consistent with its claim. The United States and Ukraine do not recognize this claimed annexation, and the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv is constrained in its ability to provide assistance to U.S. citizens visiting or residing in the Crimean Peninsula. This supersedes the Travel Warning for Ukraine dated March 7 and Emergency Message dated March 14, 2014, to provide updated information on the situation in the Crimean Peninsula and the eastern regions of Ukraine.
The Department of State urges U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Ukraine to evaluate carefully the risks posed to their personal safety, particularly in the Crimean Peninsula and the eastern regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, and Kharkiv. While the transition to a new government has been largely peaceful in most parts of Ukraine, the potential for violence between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian groups still exists. Since February 27, demonstrations and clashes have occurred in several cities in Ukraine, some of which were violent and resulted in deaths and injuries. Additionally, groups advocating closer ties to Russia have taken on a more strident anti-American tone, especially in Crimea, where some U.S. citizens have reported being detained and questioned by armed men. U.S. citizens in areas where there are pro-Russian demonstrations should maintain a low profile and avoid large crowds and gatherings.
Peace Corps Volunteers departed Ukraine on February 25, 2014, and remain out of the country at this time. U.S. Embassy Kyiv’s Consular Section is open for all public services. The Embassy’s ability to respond to emergencies involving U.S. citizens in other parts of Ukraine, especially in southern and eastern Ukraine, is limited.
Ground transportation may be disrupted throughout the country. Drivers, especially in the Crimean Peninsula, may encounter roadblocks that restrict access on certain roads. Commercial air travel, especially out of the Crimean Peninsula, could be delayed or cancelled with little or no notice. Travelers should check with their airlines for possible flight delays or cancellations prior to travel.
The situation in Ukraine is unpredictable and could change quickly. U.S. citizens throughout Ukraine should avoid large crowds. Those in Kyiv should keep away from the downtown areas of Kyiv near Independence Square and government buildings. U.S. citizens should be prepared to remain indoors for extended periods of time should clashes occur in their vicinity.
Protests in Kyiv began on November 21, 2013, following the Government of Ukraine’s announcement that it was suspending preparations to sign an association agreement with the European Union. On February 22, following three months of large protests and violent clashes, former President Yanukovych departed Kyiv. The Ukrainian Parliament established an interim government on February 27. Groups that oppose the new government and those who support closer ties with Russia have staged demonstrations in cities throughout eastern and southern Ukraine. Russia has conducted an illegal military intervention in the Crimean Peninsula and has been taking steps to acquire territory from Ukraine through the illegal use of force. On March 18 the Russian Government recognized Crimea as independent and declared its intention to annex Crimea as part of the Russian Federation. On March 20, Russia’s lower Parliament House, known as the State Duma, took steps supporting Russia’s illegal attempt to make Crimea a part of Russia.
U.S. citizens living or traveling in Ukraine are strongly encouraged to enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive the latest travel updates and to obtain updated information on security within Ukraine. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.
For inquiries regarding U.S. citizens in Ukraine related to the current unrest, please call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444, or email the Department of State at [email protected]. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). For emergency assistance for U.S. citizens in Ukraine, you may contact the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv at +380-44-521-5000 during regular business hours, or after-hours at +380-44-521-5000. The U.S. Embassy is located at 4 A.I. Sikorsky St. (formerly Tankova) in Kyiv.
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens should regularly monitor the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings, and Country Specific Information can be found. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).