Dr. Christof Rheinbay                                                                       22 January 2019


Current Security Situation in Ukraine


Dear Clients, 



For the first time in years, the criminal statistics indicate that criminal offenses are not increasing. On the contrary: They are strongly decreasing. There have been 13% less registered causalities in 2018 than in 2017. Currently, the amount of assaults is on the same level as 6 years ago. 


At the same time the detection rate for severe and very severe incidents increased to 92% according to the Ministry of Interior.  


Also, travelling by car became much safer. There are less traffic accidents in total and less accidents with injuries than 10 years ago.


According to the Minister of Interior, Mr. Arsen Avakov, the main reason for this development is the successful implementation of the police reform. The National Police would be on full operation in the meanwhile: Shortage of staff is only 8%, which would not be critical. Staff, which has been hired after the Revolution in 2014, would have  gained experience and would be fit for the job.

However, there are some less positive sides:

The number of especially serious crimes (punishable from 10 years to lifelong-sentences) has extremely increased (e.g. murder: +20% year to year!).

There has been more cases of corruption detected than in the previous year. 

Organized criminality is a threat in the big cities; especially in Kharkiv, Dnepro, Zaporozhye and Odessa (“the capital of the criminal world in Ukraine”, according to the Minister).

Please see attached statistics edited by the General Prosecutor of Ukraine and the National Police comparing data of the 1st half year of 2018 with the 1st half year of 2017.

In this Newsletter I want to discuss:

I How does the current security situation in Ukraine compare to other countries?

II What is the public perception of the security situation in Ukraine?

IIIAre there specific risks in Ukraine compared to other countries?

IVOverview on the current security situation in Ukraine.




I How does the current security situation in Ukraine compare to other countries? 

Most people appreciate Ukraine as being a country, where people can live and travel safely (e.g. see TripAdvisor Forum: “Is Ukraine safe to travel in 2018?”, 146 replies).

But, international crime-monitoring organizations see Ukraine´s security level more critically:

The Global Peace Index, edited by the Australian based Institute of Economy and Peace, ranks Ukraine on 152nd place out of 163. Criteria are level of social security, extent of ongoing inner and international conflict and level of militarization (see 112.international).

The Geneva based World Economic Forum ranks Ukraine 127 out of 136 countries on Safety and Security. Criteria are business costs of crime and violence, reliability of police services, business costs of terrorism, index of terrorism incidence and homicide rate (see reports.webforum.org).

United States’ OSAC Bureau of diplomatic security assesses Ukraine as a Level 2 – risk country and recommends: “Exercise increased caution in Ukraine due to crime and civil unrest. Kyiv has been assessed as being a High-threat location for crime” (see: osac.com).


II What is the public perception of the security situation in Ukraine? 

We have the opinion that despite the decreasing total amounts of criminal assaults, people feel more and more  insecure. Statistical development of crime rates and public  perception on crime differ. The media reports on serious criminal incidents every day: 

Every 2-3 hours National Police receives bomb threats  which leads to the evacuation of shopping malls, hotels, railway stations etc. Many Ukrainians already experienced that they had to leave a public building due to a bomb threat. Fortunately, there has not been any major incident so far. Fortunately, most bomb threats are fake. Nevertheless, the troublemakers cause fright (see: https://interfax.com.ua/news/general/512485.html).


Every day 223 fire-incidents are registered in Ukraine concerning buildings and vehicles and killing 5 people in the average every day (there are more than 4 times more victims of fire in Ukraine than in Germany which has double the population (see: http://undicz.dsns.gov.ua/ua/STATISTIKA-POZHEZH.html; “Feuerwehr-Statistik”, www.feuerwehrverband.de).  

Several prominent people, journalists and businessmen, have been killed in 2018; thereby, most often police could not detect the killers (see: “List of murdered activists grows, rule of law in Ukraine under increasing strain”, Kyiv Post, p. 17, 9.11.2018).   


Many Ukrainians are worried about the dramatic increase of severe incidents, murder and other crimes, and the widespread availability of any kind of  weaponry.




IIIAre there specific risks in Ukraine compared to other countries?

Despite the recent incidents at Azov Sea, most international experts on security assess the conflict in Eastern Ukraine as being a “frozen conflict”. Thereby, assuming that the conflict is not extending on further territories. 

However, there are often cease fires and still people are dying in the conflict. Also, the war costs much money and obviously Ukraine reduces public spending on infrastructure maintenance. Infrastructure is in general in a very poor condition. 

E.g. in October 2018 a military ammunition depot exploded in Ichnya, Chernihiv Region, causing the evacuation of nearly 10.000 people from that area. This was one of several explosions of ammunition depots during the recent years in Ukraine (see: 112.interational, 10.10.2018, “Ukrainian military warehouse explodes: Chronology of cases”).

According to the Department of Home Security of the City of Kiev the biggest threats for the capital are the dam, the nuclear power stations and the water supply.


IVOverview on the current security situation in Ukraine 


Ukraine is a safer place than it has been since the years of the Maydan Revolution.

However, there are several threats, which worry people in Ukraine and international monitoring organizations:

The war;


Severe Crime.



With best regards





Dr. Christof Rheinbay







Attachments:  Criminal Statics