SITUATIONAL REPORT: The Ukraine War – Impact on Travel

Written by Akshat Sharma

June 22, 2022

Situation Room

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons | License Details

Brief introduction to the (conflict/crisis/evolving) situation

  • Ukraine is the largest country in Europe, and borders important geopolitical spheres such as the Black Sea, Russian Federation to the east and countries like Poland, Hungary, and Romania to the west. The country is currently facing the Russian military’s aggression in the border dispute in the Donbass region (Luhansk + Donetsk).
  • The Russian military operation in Ukraine has had military, economic, and humanitarian consequences across all neighbouring countries in the region. Closed airspace, refugee inflow, civilian casualties, and disruption of essential infrastructure have affected the personal safety and security of all residents and travellers in the region.

What has led to the current situation?

Russia has invaded Ukraine in a special military operation for the following reasons:2

  • Ukraine’s recent proximity with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), as well as the European Union (EU), and the consequent security threat to the Russian Federation, which considers Ukraine as a buffer state between Moscow and the West.
  • Unstable relations with the current Ukrainian government led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Russian President Vladimir Putin branded the removal of Neo-Nazi control over Ukraine as one of the objectives of the special military operation.
  • The Donbas region, consisting of Luhansk and Donetsk, has a large Russian speaking population that raises a border dispute between the two countries. Russia has alleged misconduct against the Russian-speaking population in Donbas.

Is it Safe to Travel to Ukraine?

  • It is currently NOT safe to travel to Ukraine due to the ongoing armed conflict with Russia. Several eastern Ukrainian cities such as Kharkhiv, Marioupol, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and Severodonetsk face a very high threat to personal and physical security. Restaurants, hotels, accommodations, and civilian bomb shelters become frequent targets of military assault.
  • Here are some statements from on-ground experts, citizens, and humanitarians about the situation in Ukraine –
  • We are very concerned about the plight of the people under siege and in the areas directly affected by the war. We advocate and try to negotiate for the respect of the international humanitarian law and humanitarian principles” – Yorgos Kapranis to the Press and Information Team of the EU Delegation to Ukraine.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Ukraine’s children are displaced…“Children forced to leave homes, friends, toys and treasured belongings, family members and facing uncertainty about the future.” – Afshan Khan, Regional Director of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in a New York conference.

 Assessment

  • There is currently a severe threat to life and livelihood in Ukraine. As of June 14, 2022, 4,452 civilian deaths were reported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR). Business travel is also heavily affected due to high-security threats to employee security.
  • Disruptions in air travel may be recorded due to restricted airspace over Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova. This may consequently lead to a heavy load on transit flights as well as longer journeys and may consequently decrease flight demands.
  • Ukraine and Russia account for important trade of food, and essential resources for the Western European nations, which may sustain high fuel prices and deterioration of food security in recovering economies. Russian railways are an important connector for the vast land across the country, and sanctioned essential railway imports may slowly lead to the breakup of lines of communications throughout the nation.
  • Neighbouring countries like Poland, Romania, and Moldova may face a refugee crisis due to the high influx of displaced Ukrainian residents which is currently stable. However, the situation become volatile in case of heavy displacement in Western Ukraine as well.
  • Businesses and government infrastructures may be heavily affected by rising cyber-attacks that may lead to operational inefficiencies, loss of critical information, and compromise of data security.
  • Consider a Sitata membership which will give you disruption and threat warnings while you’re on the ground along with emergency travel assistance should you find yourself in a troubling situation.

Conclusion 

  • The travel risk to Ukraine is currently HIGH. Due to ongoing armed conflict and lack of personal security, many countries advise their citizens to avoid all travel to Ukraine.

For businesses that require a more detailed report on the situation, please refer to our in-depth country analysis which is available from our support representatives.

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