Police woman in Kiev

Is it Safe to Travel to Kiev Ukraine

How Safe is Kiev

So is it safe to travel to Ukraine? It would seem the only media news we hear about is that Ukraine is a war zone. Let me put your mind at ease. Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe. It is huge, Western Ukraine by is itself is nearly as large as Germany. Only Russia is larger.

Yes! There is a war in Ukraine, but it is confined to the East around the cities of Donetsk and Lugansk. If you plan to travel to Kiev or Western parts of Ukraine then there is absolutely nothing to be worried about.

Occasionally you might se the odd military personnel in Kiev or reminders of the tragic events of Maidan in 2014. In Kiev (Kyiv) life goes on as normal. The cafe's are full, people stroll around the parks playing with children and you would never guess Ukraine has any problems.

Army girls from Kiev

Kiev is safer than Paris, London, New York and many other major capital cities across the world.

Kiev (Kyiv) is much safer than most Western capitals. Official crime statistics from Numbeo put safety in Paris at 57.84 & Kiev at 49.86. Whilst the Crime index in London is 52.93 and Washington USA is 68.84. It is unlikely you will be a victim of major crime in Kiev, but petty crime such as pick-pocketing and scams are a problem as much as any other major city in Europe. 

Crime rates in Kiev

General level of crime                           49.86  Moderate   

Worry of being mugged or robbed          42.44  Moderate

Worry of being attacked                         38.80 Low

Worry of being insulted                         34.91  Low

Worry of racial abuse                            24.06  Low

Violent crime, assault & robbery            37.89  Low

Corruption & bribery                             83.06 Very High

Last update: January 2021

Information courtesy of Numbeo

Protecting Yourself Against Crime in Kiev Ukraine

Maidan - Revolution of Dignity

Take Precautions before you Leave

Most visitors to Kiev (Kyiv) Ukraine experience no problems. Serious crime against foreign tourists is relatively rare, but incidents do occur.  ​

  • Take copies of your passport, visa, vaccination documents, banking information, credit and debit cards and store them in a separate place and in the cloud.

  • Make sure your travel insurance will cover you to the value of the items you take on your trip.

  • Take a photo of all your expensive items in case you need to make a claim. 

  • Familiarise yourself with the local laws in Ukraine and be careful to adhere to them.

  • Make a list of emergency numbers such as your country embassy details. 

  • Try to learn some basic words in Ukrainian. It will help you make friends with the locals and they might be able to advise you of local crime activity and what to avoid.

  • Take a spare inexpensive phone to use and get yourself a local SIM card in Kiev. Your brand new iphone is sure to put you at the top of a criminals list.

Protect yourself against Pickpockets

Pick-pockets are a particular problem so follow these guidelines. ​

  • Avoid crowded places if you can and keep valuables out of site.

  • Public transport gets crowded in Kiev and is a particular problem so be aware of your surroundings.

  • Keep your cash in multiple places so as to minimise the impact of theft.

  • Beware of leaving jackets or bags on backs of chairs in restaurants, cafe's and bars.

  • Always "look back" when leaving somewhere in case you forget something.

  • Anchor bags and back-packs. Loop straps to a chair leg and keep bags in front of you, on your lap and within sight at all times.

  • Standing out in a crowd might be good for some things but advertising yourself as a wealthy tourist will certainly attract the wrong sort of attention. Keep valuables out of sight and hide the gold and jewellery. 

General Guidance

You are more likely to be targeted for crime in Kiev at night time. Bars and nightclubs generally have very good security, but it is easy to let your guard down after a few drinks. Don't keep your cash all in one place and avoid using credit and debit cards where possible. Ukraine has a high level of fraud so be vigilant. Try to use ATM's that are located inside a bank. Cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN and never let your card out of your site. It would also be wise to check your statements for any unauthorized transactions and notify your bank if anything does not look right..

There have also been cases of drinks being spiked in Kiev. When buying a drink go to the bar with at least one other person. If you're by yourself it's easy for criminals to distract you and spike your drink. Don't leave your drink unattended and never accept drinks from strangers, but if you do then go to the bar with them and watch it being made. Beware of tourist trap scams and always travel with a registered taxi company.

Stay in touch with someone back home and make regular contact so they know you are OK. Besides, it will be a great opportunity to let them know what a great time you are having in Kiev.

Maidan and the Revolution of Dignity

It is more than seven years since the Revolution of Dignity. Spontaneous demonstrations broke out in November 2013, after President Yanukovych’s government reneged on a promise for integration with the EU. Instead President Yanukovych opted for closer ties with Russia. Overnight, tens-of-thousands of people descended onto Independence square in Kiev and began a peaceful protest. What followed in February 2014 became the reason why Ukraine will never turn towards Russia ever again. Government forces under the directions of the now deposed Viktor Yanukovych began shooting the peaceful protesters.  The protest against closer association with Russia is only half the story. The underlying reason was that ordinary Ukrainian people had simply had enough of the politically corrupt government that was stealing billions of dollars from the near bankrupt economy.

Learn more about Maidan and the Revolution of Dignity

Ukrainian soldier