The US Department of State has issued fresh Do Not Travel advisories for both Russia and Ukraine. The updates to the two country’s travel advisory pages were posted on the State Department’s website just yesterday, and they come after a prolonged period of increased tension between Russia and Ukraine and what appears to be an escalation in the ongoing political situation between the two neighbouring countries over the past weekend.
This new update serves as a prime example of how a range of different information is collated and analysed in order to give up to date travel advisories, and why Covid-19 isn’t the only thing that travelers should keep in mind when booking flights to international destinations. Here’s a closer look at how travel advisories are formulated, and what the new updates tell us about the risks involved when traveling to either Russia or Ukraine.
Travel Advisories – What Travelers Should Know
Travel advisories are regularly updated with the aim of ensuring the safety of Americans abroad by keeping them up to date with issues in destinations around the world. They come in four distinct levels, with Level 1 advisories handed to the safest countries and Level 4 to the most dangerous ones, along with a recommendation not to travel to that area. In some cases, specific regions in one destination may have a different travel advisory to the country as a whole.
Along with a level, destinations are also given established risk indicator codes on the top right hand corner of their travel advisory pages that give clear information and advice about the problems in that country. They are:
- C – Crime
- T – Terrorism
- U – Civil Unrest
- H – Health
- N – Natural Disaster
- E – Time-limited Event
- O – Other
- K – Kidnapping or Hostage Taking
Russia’s Travel Advisory – Information For Travelers
Russia’s travel advisory page warns travelers not to visit due to:
“ongoing tension along the border with Ukraine, the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens, the embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19 and related entry restrictions, terrorism, harassment by Russian government security officials, and the arbitrary enforcement of local law.”
On top of their Level 4 travel advisory, the country has also been handed a Level 4 Travel Health Notice from the CDC, which indicates that there is a high level of Covid-19 in the country. The country is currently reporting a daily average over the past week of more than 43,000 cases, with case rates spiking in the weeks following the new year.
Ukraine’s Travel Advisory – What Travelers Should Know
Ukraine’s travel advisory page warns travelers not to visit “due to the increased threats of Russian military action and Covid-19,” whilst also advising that travelers exercise increased caution due to crime and civil unrest. Politically, the situation in the country looks bleak, with employees and family members of the embassy ordered to depart and US citizens in the country told to consider leaving.
The page also warns of the threat of significant military action by Russia against Ukraine. Ukraine also carries a Level 4 Travel Health Notice from the CDC due to the Covid-19 situation in the country, having also seen a recent spike in cases and almost 16,000 reported yesterday. Whilst travelers do not have to legally follow the travel advisories, in the case of Russia and Ukraine it would be wise to carefully read their pages, follow the recommendations and consider other travel destinations.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories