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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, currently giving a 55% majority of MPs’ seats to President Volodymyr Zelenskyi's Sluha Narodu (SN) party, solidified his position. SN’s outright majority, the first ever in modern Ukrainian parliamentary history, eliminated the need to establish a coalition for cabinet formation, giving the party a clear mandate to implement its chosen policies. The appointment of Denys Shmygal in March 2020 as prime minister following the dismissal of his predecessor Oleksiy Honcharuk after just six months in office indicates greater oligarchic influence over the government and complications in co-operation with the IMF. This will be critical, considering the external liquidity pressures to service debt in 2020–21. Influence of powerful oligarchic interests on the government's policy implementation and state contract allocation are likely to increase in 2020–21, to the detriment of foreign investors. The hybrid conflict in Donbas between government forces and Russian-equipped, -funded, and -supported separatist militias remains ongoing as of June 2020, and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions are likely to remain effectively Russian protectorates for the foreseeable future. Controlled de- and re-escalations along the geographically stable line of contact in Donbas are likely, aimed at achieving political objectives by the combatants. With economic activity nearly at a standstill owing to the COVID-19-associated restrictions, Ukraine's real GDP growth is expected to plummet in the coming quarters. Real GDP will fall by 10.9% in 2020, rebounding to 3.0% in 2021, from a full-year increase of 3.2% in 2019. Private consumption will drive 2021 growth, while inflation is expected to accelerate to around 6.7% in 2020–21. Although foreign-exchange reserves have been bolstered by the access to multilateral financing and commercial borrowings recently, Ukraine needs urgent credit disbursement from the IMF to finance its twin external and budget deficits and nearly USD17 billion for debt repayment due in 2020–21.
Last update: June 26, 2020

Operational Outlook

Corruption and political interference are prevalent at all levels of the Ukrainian political system and bureaucracy, negatively affecting the business environment. While the government pledged to implement key structural reforms to improve governance and accelerate economic growth, progress remains to be seen. Severe economic crisis in Ukraine in 2020 will likely increase labour unrest in 2020-21, especially in the mining, farming, and transportation sectors. Cargo movement across the border to Russia, including to China, remains 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 promised reforms are mitigating these efforts.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Terrorism

High

The continuing armed conflict in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions provides manpower and material for terrorist activity outside the conflict zone. Small-capability 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: June 17, 2020

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, by 2019 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 Donbass is a source of arms trafficking. Separatist-controlled areas in the east are characterised by much higher crime levels and severe lawlessness.

Last update: June 17, 2020

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 slow-burning armed conflict in eastern Ukraine is still ongoing as of May 2020 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 shelling and shooting incidents daily, the likelihood of open and direct Russian involvement in Donbass remains low, as it would risk triggering further punishing economic sanctions against Russia.

Last update: June 17, 2020

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: June 17, 2020

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