I think one of the most common questions that foreigners have is how dangerous/safe is Ukraine. Obviously, Ukraine isn’t some country that millions of people visit like France or England or even Thailand. Everyone knows, more or less, what to expect in those countries.
But even after more than 27 years of independence—following the collapse of the Soviet Union—Ukraine is still a country that doesn’t get many tourists.
When people travel to an unknown destination one of the first issues on their minds is safety. They care about their well-being. They want to know that they’re not going to be assaulted, mugged or even killed when they’re in a foreign land with foreign people, foreign culture and foreign laws.
As you know, I’m originally from Mexico. While Mexico has been getting a lot of bad press lately, it’s actually a fairly safe country, especially when it comes to tourist spots like Cabo San Lucas or Cancun. Since violence is mostly localized to a few regions, the rest of the country is safe.
Ukraine is even safer than Mexico. There are no narcotrafficking and drug-dealing in Ukraine. It’s not a country that serves as a transit point for any illicit substances. Moreover, people are generally very relaxed and wouldn’t touch you if you don’t start anything first. Having lived and visited several countries in Latin America, Ukraine is easily the safest of them all.
Having spent some time in London, Madrid, and Paris, I would even consider Ukraine safer than Western Europe. Western Europe is just too unpredictable.
It’s perfectly fine to be walking alone at night in the major cities, provided you use your street smarts and stick to well-lit areas. I have walked alone in lots of cities in Ukraine and have never felt unsafe or in danger.
I would even go as far as to say it’s completely safe for single female travelers. As long as common sense is exercised, of course.
The time I was almost robbed
The only problem, or even something that *might* turn into a problem, was when I was walking home to my apartment in Zaporojie, a city in the Southeast of the country. Unlike other cities where I traveled, this city seemed very seedy and unsafe. I was merely passing by a bunch of young guys drinking when one of them turned to me and shouted something. I ignored him and kept walking. They appeared to follow me for a little but then gave up.
I suppose that situation could’ve easily turned into something nastier. But, then again, maybe I should’ve taken a taxi instead.
Other than that, I never experienced any problems.
Of course, I haven’t visited cities like Donetsk and Lugansk which are located in the contested regions and aren’t controlled by Ukrainian authorities. From what I heard from friends and others, I don’t really recommend visiting those areas if you have no business being there.
So, if I were you, I wouldn’t really worry too much about safety. If you’re not looking for trouble, trouble is not going to be looking for you.