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Country Reports

Ukraine Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

The outcome of the July 2019 parliamentary election, producing the 56% majority of MP seats taken by President Volodymyr Zelenskyi's Servant of the People (Sluha Narodu, SN) party, solidified the new president's position. SN’s outright majority, the first ever in modern Ukrainian parliamentary history, eliminated the need to establish a coalition for a stable government, giving the party a clear mandate to implement its chosen policies. The choice of reformist lawyer Oleksiy Honcharuk as the new prime minister indicates the new cabinet’s likely pro-reform policy direction, despite the SN's vague and generalist political platform. This will be critical for the continued political and financial support from IMF and Western donors, which will remain vital, considering the external liquidity pressures to service debt in 2019-20. However, pro-reform orientation of the cabinet is not guaranteed due to ongoing influences by powerful oligarchic interests on the government's policy implementation. The hybrid conflict in Donbass between government forces and Russian-backed separatist militias remains ongoing as of December 2019, and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions are likely to remain effective Russian protectorates for the foreseeable future. Controlled de- and re-escalations along the geographically stable line of contact in Donbass are likely, aimed to achieve political objectives by both parties. A restart of increased Russo-Ukrainian communication on Donbass conflict resolution is increasingly likely in the six-month outlook.Ukraine's real GDP growth is expected to slow down to 2.9% in 2019 and 2.8% in 2020, after expanding 3.2% in 2018. Economic activity is currently supported by domestic demand. However, election-triggered policy uncertainty, ongoing emerging markets' volatility, and weaker external demand undermine the near-term growth outlook.Foreign-exchange reserves have been bolstered by access to multilateral financing and commercial borrowing. However, prolonged delays in credit disbursement from the IMF could once again thin the foreign-exchange buffer, already under pressure from around USD28-billion debt repayment due in 2019–20.
Last update: December 5, 2019

Operational Outlook

The business environment has suffered from the political instability brought by Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the unresolved conflict in the east. However, further push by the government to implement key structural reforms to improve governance and accelerate economic growth is likely. Ongoing economic weaknesses in Ukraine are likely to increase labour unrest in 2019-20, especially in the mining, farming, and transportation sectors. Cargo movement across the border to Russia is restricted by regulatory bans. Although the government is keen on attracting FDI, including by continued deregulation, insufficient progress in its anti-corruption drive and uncertainty concerning the scope of the reforms are mitigating these efforts.

Last update: November 16, 2019

Terrorism

High

The continuing armed conflict in eastern Ukraine provides manpower and material for terrorist activity outside the conflict zone. IED attacks against government buildings, police offices, or railway infrastructure are most likely in Kyiv and in the large cities in the south and east; attacks against military assets are likely across the country. As the majority of attacks are intended to damage the property, risks of injury and death are mostly collateral. Risks of disruptive cyber-attacks, including against critical national infrastructure, such as energy grids, water supply, metro systems, ports and airports, mostly executed by groups associated with Russia are elevated.

Last update: November 16, 2019

Crime

Crime rates in Ukraine increased sharply in 2014, partly due to the ongoing armed conflict in the east of the country, presence of armed militias in Donbass and proliferation of weapons across the country. However, in 2018 the homicide figure dropped to the lowest level since 1991, while the overall crime rates also decreased. Widespread financial crime includes the rigging of bids for state and municipal contracts, widespread corruption, and money laundering at central, regional and local levels. The line of contact in Donbas is a source of arms trafficking. Separatist-controlled areas in the east are characterised by much higher crime levels and severe lawlessness.

Last update: November 29, 2019

War Risks

Russia occupied Crimea in February 2014 and annexed it in March 2014; any Ukrainian attempts to recapture the peninsula militarily would trigger an open interstate military conflict; therefore, such scenario is unlikely. The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine was still ongoing as of November 2019 along a geographically stable line of contact (LoC) owing to Russia's continued support to the separatist militias in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Although fighting along the mostly stable LoC is likely to continue with dozens of shelling and shooting incidents daily, the likelihood of open and direct Russian involvement in Donbass remains low, as it would risk triggering further Western sanctions against Russia.

Last update: November 16, 2019

Social Stability

Very high

Public willingness to protest has been fomented by the previous and current governments' liberal approach, political pluralism across all levels, and the pluralistic media landscape; it was also aggravated by the ongoing economic weaknesses and continued government instability. This provides an environment in which protests, both economically and politically driven, are likely to be frequent and widespread across the country, but will unlikely be sufficient to mobilise a large-scale protest movement able to topple the current government as it did in February 2014. However, protesters will increasingly likely attempt to block key roads, railways, and other infrastructure temporarily to increase the impact of their actions and gain media coverage.

Last update: November 16, 2019

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

Finally, local weather conditions, such as the torrential rains and floods observed in the west of the country in spring 2010 (Chernivtsi oblast; several deaths; damage to homes; several thousand residents evacuated) and the wave of extreme cold that struck the country in February 2012 (responsible for 100 deaths), can cause significant damage and disrupt the movement of people and goods. Forest fires can also occur in the country; two fires sprung up near the Chernobyl nuclear plant in April and June 2015.

Winter storms commonly produce hazardous conditions (strong winds, heavy snowfall, ice) and cause significant transportation disruptions nationwide between November and February.  In January 2018, much of the country saw snowfall of up to 40 cm (16 in), with winds up to 70 km/h (44 mph).

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

The climate is temperate-continental thanks to the influence of the Siberian High (Siberian Anticyclone). Winter is harsh and snowy in the north and the east and lasts approximately four months. Temperatures are milder along the coast of the Black Sea (in the south). Summers are long and hot with sometimes violent thunderstorms. Autumns are sunny and mild.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +380
Police: 02
Fire Dept.: 01
Ambulance: 03

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019