Travel Alert – Ukraine – Unrest…

The Drum Cussac has issued this latest warning for U.S. Citizens traveling in to the country of the Ukraine.  This information is available to GeoBlue plan members from the GeoBlue website daily…

UPDATE 4: Clashes Continue Overnight in Central Kiev as Death Toll Rises, Further Unrest Likely

Category: Unrest

Severity: 3 (Moderate)

Source: Drum Cussac

02/19/2014 (Ukraine) – The health ministry indicated on Wednesday, 19 February, that fatalities in clashes between anti-government supporters and riot police in central Kiev had risen to 25 as Ukraine faced the worst outbreak of civil unrest in recent history. Protesters set fire to tyres and flammable debris, as well as threw firebombs and fire crackers to hold off riot police, backed by water cannons, attempting to clear Kiev’s Maidan (Independence Square). As of early Wednesday, a fire in the Trade Union House had continued to burn.

The risk rating for Ukraine is currently MODERATE. The violence has remained concentrated in Maidan and its immediate vicinity, notably the Institututska and Shovkovychna streets, Hrushevskoho Street and Mariinsky Park, where protesters are refusing to leave despite a harsh police crackdown. Police launched an operation late on Tuesday to clear Maidan of opposition protesters after violent demonstrations were staged in response to the parliament’s failure to amend the constitution, which the opposition had earlier demanded as part of their calls for political reforms. At this stage, protesters remain in Maidan.

Transportation in the capital has been crippled, with reports that roads leading to the capital have been blocked while Kiev’s metro services have been suspended as of Tuesday. Taxis are reportedly being stopped and searched, notably in central Kiev as the government attempts to prevent more protesters from reaching Maidan.

The intensity of the overnight confrontations has raised concerns that the unrest might spread to other parts of the city. A meeting between opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk and President Viktor Yanukovych failed to produce any meaningful results in the early hours of Wednesday, also prompting concerns that the opposition could abandon ongoing talks and continue their protests in light of the deadly ongoing crackdown. There are also unconfirmed reports that busloads of anti-government activists from opposition strongholds in western Ukraine are headed towards the capital.

Those in or intending to travel to Kiev should continue monitoring the latest developments that can have an impact on their safety, itinerary and business operations. All forms of demonstrations and public gatherings should also be avoided due to the risk of exposure to indiscriminate outbreaks of violence. Travel disruption in the coming hours should also be anticipated due to road closures, traffic re-routing and heightened security measures in light of the ongoing clampdown.

Copyright © 2014 Drum Cussac

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