Ukraine Country Report
The conflict in east Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russian separatists remains ongoing despite a ceasefire agreement. The accompanying Minsk II peace plan is unlikely to be implemented in its current form. Parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions are likely to maintain substantial self-rule, whether through a negotiated settlement or the establishment of de facto autonomous separatist republics. Russia is likely to limit its military intervention in Ukraine to providing significant support to the separatists but avoiding overt direct involvement. The current fragile pro-European government's economic reform agenda is facing numerous obstacles in 2018; however, continued financial support from the Western donors will remain vital. The government in Kiev is expected to pushthrough at least some key economic, governance, and anti-corruption reforms or otherwise face renewed protests.
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. While the current government is attempting to push through key structural reforms to improve the governance and accelerate economic growth, re-escalation of fighting remains a risk. Ongoing economic weaknesses in Ukraine are likely to increase labour unrest in 2018. Cargo movement across border to Russia is restricted by regulatory bans. Although the government is keen on attracting FDI, insufficient progress in the anti-corruption drive is mitigating these efforts.
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 poorly secured railway infrastructure are most likely in Kiev and in the Russian-speaking large cities in the south and east, such as Odessa and Kharkiv. As the majority of terrorist attacks are intended to cause damage to property, risks of injury and death from the attacks are mostly collateral. Risks of cyber-attacks, including against critical national infrastructure, such as energy grids, ports and airports, and mostly executed by cyber groups from or associated with Russia, are also currently elevated.
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 March 2018 along a geographically mostly 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 incidents daily, the likelihood of open and direct Russian involvement in Donbass remains low, as it would risk triggering further Western sanctions against Russia.
Public willingness to protest has been fomented by the current government's liberal approach, political pluralism across all levels, and the freedom of media; it was also aggravated by the economic difficulties 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 government as it did in February 2014. However, protesters will increasingly likely attempt to block roads, railways, and other infrastructure to increase impact of their actions.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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