Message for U.S. Citizens Considering Travel to Uman for Rosh Hashanah
Security Alert: U.S. Embassy Kyiv, Ukraine (August 22, 2023)
Location: Uman, Ukraine
Event: The U.S. Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens do not travel to Ukraine. This recommendation applies to U.S. citizens considering travel to Uman during Rosh Hashanah for the pilgrimage to the grave of Rebbe Nachman.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, all parts of the country have experienced Russian airstrikes hitting civilian buildings and critical infrastructure, including houses of worship, often with little or no warning. Uman has been the site of multiple Russian missile attacks as recent as June. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv continues to operate with reduced staffing and has limited capacity to assist U.S. citizens in Ukraine.
The State Department’s Current Travel Advisory for Ukraine Is Level 4: Do Not Travel
The Department of State continues to advise that U.S. citizens do not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict. Those U.S citizens in Ukraine should depart if it is safe to do so using commercial or other privately available ground transportation options.
All U.S. citizens should carefully monitor U.S. government notices and local and international media outlets for information about changing security conditions and alerts to shelter in place. Those remaining in Ukraine should exercise caution due to the potential for military attacks, crime, and civil unrest.
The security situation throughout Ukraine is highly volatile. U.S. citizens should remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. Know the location of your closest shelter or protected space. In the event of mortar or rocket fire, follow the instructions from local authorities and seek shelter immediately. If you feel your current location is no longer safe, you should carefully assess the potential risks involved in moving to a different location.
There are continued reports of Russian forces and their proxies singling out U.S. citizens in Ukraine for detention, interrogation, or harassment because of their nationality. U.S. citizens have also been singled out when evacuating by land through Russia-occupied territory or to Russia or Belarus.
On February 24, 2022, the Ukrainian government declared a state of emergency. Each province (oblast) will decide on the measures to be implemented according to local conditions. Measures could include curfews, restrictions on the freedom of movement, ID verification, and increased security inspections, among other measures. Follow any state of emergency measures imposed in your oblast.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits U.S. civil aviation from flying in Ukrainian airspace. For more information, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices. Additionally, since February 24, when Russia’s forces began attacking major Ukrainian cities, the State Aviation Administration of Ukraine, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, and the Federal Aviation Administration have prohibited flights into, out of, and over Ukraine due to ongoing military actions.
Travel to High-Risk Areas
If you choose to disregard the travel advisory not to enter Ukraine, you should consider taking the following steps prior to travel:
- Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
- Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.
- Share important documents, login information, and points of contact with loved ones so that they can manage your affairs if you are unable to return as planned to the United States.
- Leave DNA samples with your medical provider in case it is necessary for your family to access them.
- Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organization or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
- Develop a communication plan with family and/or your employer or host organization so that they can monitor your safety and location as you travel through high-risk areas. This plan should specify who you would contact first, and how they should share the information.
- Enroll your trip in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations.
- Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
- Ensure travel documents are valid and easily accessible.
- Have a contingency plan in place that does not rely on U.S. government assistance.
- Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your contingency plans based on the new information.