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UKRAINE: Closures of Government Offices and Businesses/Possible Sanctions Announced by Canada, the European Union and US
February 20, 2014
In response to death estimates ranging from 26-70 people involved in violent protests against the Ukrainian government, today, the European Union (EU) High Representative (Catharine Ashton) issued a formal press release indicating convening a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council to impose “restrictive measures” against the Ukrainian Government by use of visa bans and the possible freezing of financial assets.
In addition, a senior U.S. State Department official announced it is moving to "restrict visas to some 20 senior members of the Ukrainian government and other individuals we consider responsible for ordering human rights abuses related to political oppression in Ukraine.”
Consular Closures/Travel Warnings Issued
Beyond the fallout of diplomatic sanctions, foreign governments are determining how best to protect their overseas citizens and travelers in Ukraine given the dramatic and devastating increase in violence between armed riot squads and citizenry.
On February 19th, the Embassy of Canada in Kiev http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/ukraine/index.aspx announced closure until further notice.
US citizens should consult the latest US State Department travel warnings http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/ukraine-travel-alert.html. US citizen assignees and their dependents are urged to contact the US Embassy in Kiev to understand if there are evacuation preparations or in the event of emergency assistance http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/ukraine.html.
Given the level of uncertainty around how far the protestors intend to push government military and police, it is altogether best to avoid any travel to the Ukraine at this time. If travel is required, travelers should consult with their home country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs or diplomatic agency for any travel warnings or restrictions.
Other countries may join in imposing diplomatic sanctions is violence continues or escalates. Developments on the ground in Kiev are dictating how both the country’s governments and private businesses are reacting. The first priority of the Ukrainian Government is to de-accelerate the level of violence in Kiev’s main square and in the streets.
As news wire reports are coming in that the government is shutting down internet, subway and rail systems and closing government offices, it is recommended that HR and mobility suppliers should consult with their Ukrainian and/or global immigration supplier to ascertain the current security situation and to discuss the ability to process any immigration-related matters (e.g., work or residence permits, renewals, issuance of visas). At this time, it is also recommended to remain very flexible with planning assignments or travel in Ukraine for the near future. For assignees and travelers still in the Ukraine, it is best to discuss comfort level/security in their remaining in country and how best to depart the country should threats or violence worsen.
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