Ukraine: US Department of State Alerts US Citizens to Risk of Travel, Effective February 18
The US Department of State alerts US citizens of the increased risks of travel to Ukraine because of the ongoing political unrest and violent clashes between police and protesters. Since February 18, there has been a sharp escalation in violence between protesters and police. The Ukrainian Security Services have announced that they may take extraordinary measures beginning the evening of February 18. US citizens are urged to maintain a low profile and to remain indoors at night while clashes continue. Effective February 18, the Kyiv Metro (subway) has been shut down and access into Kyiv by road has, according to credible reports, been restricted. The situation is currently very fluid and US citizens in Kyiv should follow media reports closely as events develop.
Protest-related violence, particularly in Kyiv, escalated sharply on February 18, resulting in several deaths and hundreds of injuries. Protesters remain in Kyiv’s Independence Square and several government buildings in Kyiv and other cities throughout Ukraine. Groups of young men, popularly called “titushky,” have attacked journalists and protesters and committed other random acts of violence in Kyiv and other cities. US citizens are advised to avoid all protests, demonstrations, and large gatherings. US citizens whose residences or hotels are located in the vicinity of the protests are cautioned to leave those areas or prepare to remain indoors, possibly for several days, should clashes occur.
The situation in Ukraine is unpredictable and could change quickly. Further violent clashes between police and protesters in Kyiv and other cities are possible. The location and nature of demonstrations and methods employed by the police can change quickly and without warning. Protest sites have drawn large crowds, and protesters have blocked roads in Kyiv and other cities and may do so again.
Protests in Kyiv began on November 21, 2013, following the Ukraine’s announcement that it was suspending preparations to sign an association agreement with the EU. On November 30, police severely injured several demonstrators in an attempt to remove them from Independence Square. Protesters retaliated by occupying Kyiv’s Independence Square, City Administration Building (i.e. City Hall) and other buildings. Since then, there have been several clashes between protestors and police resulting in numerous injuries. On January 19, violence escalated with protesters and police using stones, Molotov cocktails, tear gas and rubber bullets. Since then, the situation has escalated significantly with protesters and police using stones, Molotov cocktails, tear gas and rubber bullets. Several demonstrators have been killed and hundreds on both sides injured.
US citizens who travel to or reside in Ukraine are strongly advised to enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). US citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the nearest US Embassy or consulate. By enrolling, you make it easier for the US Embassy or consulate to contact you in case of an emergency.
Unless otherwise indicated in a public announcement, the US Embassy in Kyiv is open for all routine American Citizens Services by appointment. US citizens needing emergency assistance do not need an appointment. The American Citizens Services Unit of the US Embassy is located at 4 A.I. Sikorsky St. (formerly Tankova) in Kyiv, and can be reached by calling +380-44-521-5000 or by e-mailing email@example.com. The Embassy’s after-hours emergency telephone number is +380-44-521-5000.
Current information on safety and security can also be obtained on the Department of State’s website or by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the US or a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444 for callers from other countries. These numbers are available from 0800 hours through 2000 hours EST, Monday through Friday (except US federal holidays).
I retired from the US State Department in April 2006, after a career as a special agent, Senior Regional Security Officer (SRSO), director of training, chief investigator of the Cyprus Missing Persons Program, director of security of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and as a senior adviser in the Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance.
My book, STAYING SAFE ABROAD: TRAVELING, WORKING AND LIVING IN A POST-9/11 WORLD was published in May 2008.
A complete update of STAYING SAFE ABROAD 2015, will be release during early 2015 for the iPad, Kindle and Nook and other e-readers.
I am a former Federal Firearms Dealer (US), a certified NRA pistol instructor and a certified NRA Range Safety Officer.
My career has also included 15 years as an international security consultant; for ten years I served as the security adviser to the Inter-American Development Bank.
I additionally, served six years in the Marines, which included combat service in Vietnam.
I am available for operational assignments, lecturing opportunities and in providing security solutions anywhere in the world.