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Western Ukraine Travel

I am planning a trip to E. Europe Fall 2015. Wish to cross Poland border into Western Ukraine and visit a couple of sites. Will not go any further than about half way to Kiev. Does anyone know if that would be safe given the current political in Eastern Ukraine?
Thank you!

Posted by
1818 posts

We were there two years ago and are going for a month this mid-April to mid-May. First of all buy a recent edition of Lonely Planet Ukraine guidebook. Second, get a copy of the Lonely Planet Ukranian phrasebook. It is almost imperative you know the Ukranian cyrillic alphabet and how to use it. Ukraine is probably the least expensive place to visit now. We do not believe there is any danger. My wife has corresponded with the young man who was enlisted as a translator when we were there last time and he hasn't indicated there will be a problem with us being there.

Cities we have visited and will visit again are Lviv, to Ivano-Frankivsk, to Kolomiya, to Chernisvsti. From there we will cross into Northern Romania for a few days and backtrack to Lviv. Our flight is from Seattle to Amsterdam through Warsaw to Lviv. Back the same way. My wife suggests looking for information by going to Google and searching Ukraine tourism. You won't need a visa.

These cities are European oriented. Lviv could be anywhere in central Europe and so could Ivano-Frankivst. If you would like more specifics like hotels and transportation let me know in a private message and we will go to email.

Posted by
7680 posts

Plus if you are in Moscow IDAHO (no visa needed here either!) the 3rd Saturday in June we will be pumping Monte and Sharon for a Trip Report at our Rick Steves Meet-up. You are welcome to join us.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you Monte for your quick reply and Pam for the invite. Pam, doubt we will make it to your Idaho gathering - would be fun though, I'm sure. Monte, I will check out Lonely Planet tour and phrase book and also info online for Ukraine travel. I will be in touch by e-mail for more information later. Thanks again!

Posted by
5497 posts

Latest American State Department travel warning:
http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/ukraine-travel-warning.html

Reads in part:

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to
eastern Ukraine. Despite the signing of a ceasefire agreement in
September 2014, violent clashes between Russia-backed separatists and
Ukrainian forces continue in parts of the eastern regions of Donetsk
and Luhansk, resulting in thousands of injuries and deaths. In
addition, Russian military forces continue to occupy the Crimean
Peninsula and are present on the eastern border of Ukraine.

Posted by
23547 posts

I think that the actual answer is :- Nobody Knows.

Fall 2015 is a long time from now, Putin is suffering from low oil prices and needs scapegoats.

There are credible stories of him doing similar things in the Baltic countries as he has done in Georgia and Ukraine - fomenting unrest from within and planting munitions.

Russia is not a democracy. Russia is a dictatorship, and Putin is the dictator. Nobody knows what he will do 3 months from now, let alone 6 or 9 months from now.

That's not alarmist, it is fact.

You need to decide what is important to you. I don't think anybody here, or at the State Department can say what will happen.

Posted by
1818 posts

That State Department warning is from the first part of January and there were several before that. None of them said "Don't go". They said if you do go to some of the cities in eastern Ukraine stay in the city center and away from military actions and demonstrations. Its true that no one knows what crazy Putin will be up to this Fall.

Slipson, Just keep up with the news and the State Dept. warnings. Kyiv would be safe to visit now as would any place in western Ukraine. Life there is back to normal. Odesa tends to be pro-Russian but I wouldn't hesitate to go there. Its a beautiful city. There is sort of a dividing line between east and west Ukraine, the Dnepr River. Also, a highway from Odesa to Kyiv and up to Chernivsti. Anything west of there is perfectly normal. Most of that area was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire at one time. That's why it is pro-European and very pro-Ukraine.

The purveyers of paranoia mean well. They probably have not been to Ukraine and are getting their information from the news. We are in communication with two people constantly in western Ukraine and neither have indicated there will be a problem with our visit. An Orthodox priest we know in Alberta is from western Ukraine and has relatives there. We are getting some information from him also. We do not expect anything untoward during our journey to western Ukraine. As I said, just keep an eye on what's going on.

Posted by
5497 posts

Today's headline: Russia opposition politician Boris Nemtsov shot dead
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31669061

A leading Russian opposition politician, former Deputy Prime Minister
Boris, has been shot dead in Moscow, Russian officials say.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the murder, the Kremlin
says.

President Putin has assumed "personal control" of the investigation
into the killing, said his spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Investigators said the murder could have been "a provocation aimed at
destabilising the country".

Posted by
6045 posts

With the mention of Putin and his unpredictable nature this is starting to go off topic. The OP is concerned about travel to Western Ukraine, not Russia and not Eastern Ukraine. While nobody can predict what will happen in the future, especially when dealing with a nut case, trying to scare the OP with news reports not relating to his/her travels is not helpful.

Like Monte I get most of my news about Ukraine from those living there. My daughter (now living in the US) lived and worked in Dnipropetrovsk for 3 years before moving back here last March. She remains in touch with several friends living there and in other parts of Ukraine. She is sad that she probably would not return to Dnipro at the present time due to the fact that there are military skirmishes and some sniper activity as close as 100 miles east of there and people there are concerned. However she would not hesitate to visit anyplace in Western Ukraine such as Lviv and Kyiv, 2 of her favorite cities.

As has been said in someone else's post, keep watching the US State Dept website for advisories and warnings but don't change any plans unnecessarily, go and enjoy.

Posted by
6 posts

If you end up deciding not to go to Western Ukraine, the Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are certainly worthwhile. Beautiful countries and people.

Posted by
42 posts

Personally I would not hesitate to visit Western Ukraine. In January I came from Kiev to Lviv and then went onto Hungary, spent some days in both Kiev and Lviv and plan to travel to Carpathian Mts. in June on my way to Romania. (hopefully). I never once felt unsafe or anything of the like. (disclaimer: I can read Cyrillic and can speak Russian/Ukrainian at a basic level ie ask questions, understand people speaking etc etc) As far as I know there are no problems in that part of the country. It is very beautiful and I think you will have a great time! If you have any questions about anything, feel free to PM me.