I'm a bit fearful of corrupt police in Ukraine, and I already read one of the great answers regarding how to avoid getting harassed by corrupt police.

However, the problem is that my SIM card in Ukraine is data-only so I could not call to embassy when I get caught.

Some tips say I should negotiate the amount of bribe, but honestly I don't like to pay at all.

Specifically, what I would like to know:

  • In order to avoid being ripped off, I consider carrying no cash. But if I don't have any cash, what are they going to do?

  • Do these police usually wear uniform or not? And do they approach me alone or as a group?

  • Ultimately, if the sole aim is never hand in any amount of money to police, what should I do when I get stopped by police?

I consider the location is either Kyiv or Lviv, though I'm glad to hear about other cities as well.

  • 2
    Why not get a full fledged sim card? In Ukraine it costs a few euros per month and there are numerous world travel sims that support calls as well.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 18:56
  • @JonathanReez When I got on the airport in Kyiv, it was the only card I could buy at one of the counters. The world travel SIM is quite expensive, IMO.
    – Blaszard
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 19:00
  • The airport options are bad, get one at the kiosk - like I said it's only a few euros. As for travel sim cards - there are currently amazing options out there, such as: drimsim.com
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 19:12
  • 3
    In most Eastern European countries you can play dumb and eventually the cop will realize they are not getting any money from you and let you go. Be prepared to spend a significant amount of time listening to the cop giving you a lecture on how many laws you broke and how many tickets you'll get (like cops everywhere they can always find something to give you a ticket for). You can tell them you are on a business trip and your company will pay the tickets. Not sure about Ukraine but that generally works.
    – ventsyv
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 19:19
  • @JonathanReez The card at the airport cost 110 UAH and 9GB data-use, which I'm quite satisified with. Generally, I prefer to buy the card at the airport if the country and/or city is what I have never visited. It is quite a pain to navigate the transport without the network...
    – Blaszard
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 19:20

4 Answers 4


Welcome to Ukraine! Get ready to pay!

Ukraine went through a BIG anti-corruption push a couple years ago when they were modernizing their department. They even rebranded to move away from the Soviet/Russia-styled милиция (militia) to the European-styled полиция (police). Unfortunately, that training is starting to wear off and corruption (which never left, but was hidden for a while) is returning to the forefront.

I see a lot of partially correct answers and a lot of non-useful information. Take it from a pro (I've been arrested more times than you can imagine, but never charged nor paid a bribe!)

Here's the deal: As Tor-Einar Jarnbjo said, it comes down to time or money. Considering the ridiculously low prices in this country $1=₴26! Most tourists are honestly better off paying the ₴100-500 bribe. I have yet to meet a tourist who would think twice about buying a pretty (or even average) girl a ₴200 glass of wine or twice that or more for entry into a club, so, how much is YOUR time worth? If you (like me) are fighting on principle, then here is some actual help…

  1. Be prepared to lose at most 4 hours. It has never taken me more than 4 hours to resolve a "problem". On the short side, it can be as little as a few minutes, but that is rare and the ~3 hour mark is average.

  2. Stand up for yourself, do not show fear, know that you are in the right. While there are some good COPs, many of these corrupt COPs are just bullies… they can SMELL fear on you. They technically have a right to stop you and ask you to show ID, but you'll find that happens infinitely more if you are or are near non-european looking people. If you stand up to them, a non-negligible percentage will quickly give up and find softer targets.

  3. A photocopy is FINE! They often insist you show them your original passport. That is PURE and total BULLSHIT. Ukrainian law states that a passport is perfectly valid as a form of ID and if the arresting officer is not satisfied, they must escort you to the location of your original ID. In all my time and many arrests, that has happened exactly ZERO, even though I have proposed it dozens (why not get the police to give you a free taxi ride home?).

  4. DO threaten to call your embassy. Many times, the threat of calling the embassy (particularly the US embassy) has resulted in termination of the problem

  5. Do NOT call your embassy. Guess what? Your embassy does not give a SHIT about you. It is sad, but true. I have actually called the embassy more than a dozen times. On the 2 times they even bothered to answer at all, they were less than no help! Threatening is useful. Actually calling is NOT. If you happen to know a local lawyer or at the very least, a local-language speaking person, that is a much better use of your phone privilege.

  6. You cannot anyway! Guess what, they will NOT let you call either. Multiple police have prevented me, sometimes physically from dialing my embassy. They know that is the potential first step to their last day working as a COP.

  7. This should probably be step #1 but its something you ALWAYS forget in the moment. Get and memorize the arresting officer's FULL name and badge number. WRITE IT DOWN. They will refuse to give it to you. INSIST on it. It is just as legally required for them to give that to you as it is for you to show your ID. Get this information about EVERY involved officer and make a note about the license plate of their car. It makes them easy to identify.

  8. Call the anti-corruption hotline. Here's the thing, do NOT do this until your last day in the country. The thing about corrupt COPs is, they are CORRUPT! They do NOT care about the rules and they have corrupt and/or CRIMINAL friends plus, they have a GUN! If they ever understand who cost them their lucratively corrupt job, get ready for a shit-storm. I have never known a local Ukrainian to call the anti-corruption hotline after a problem. They are all terrified of the fallout. But if you do not turn in to people who ruin your vacation instead of doing their job protecting the public, then you are simply contributing to the problem. Let's get these corrupt assholes thrown in jail and have a police force which is actually going to STOP some criminal acts!

  • Hmm. I've contacted embassies in the past, and they've been most useful. Including those of other countries when no NZ ones existed there (eg Bolivia).
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 1:42
  • 5
    Is it really necessary to is such a large font? Each line has four words or less on my phone and is so hard to read I gave up. Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 2:35

You should call National Anti-Corruption Bureau's hotline: +380-44-246-34-11 (from foreign number) or 0-800-503-200 (from Ukrainian number).

They will provide you with necessary assistance and I assure you if you face a policeman or border guard, who will try to bully you into giving a bribe and report the incident to NACB or The National Police - they will regret this decision for life and they know it.

  • 6
    Do the hotline operators speak English? Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 11:25
  • I don't have a phone number; but in general, if I have, is it better to call to it or to an embassy?
    – Blaszard
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 11:41
  • 4
    They do speak English. You should first call the hotline. Your embassy almost certainly won't bother unless you're being arrested. Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 11:59
  • 5
    Go and get a sim card. You can get it at any convenience store and it costs close to nothing. Also, stop exaggerating the problem and enjoy your vacation. Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 12:01

At least in European countries, in which bribery, corruption and 'invented' fines are still common, you should not fear any serious consequences if you don't play along with the officials. When you go to the affected countries (most parts of Eastern Europe), prepare yourself and realize to begin with, that this is a situation you might have to deal with.

Basically, you have in most situations two options, of which you have to choose whatever suits you best. Let go of a bill or two, lose some money and be done with it, or start arguing, don't let yourself be intimidated, save the money, but potentially lose a lot of valuable travel or holiday time.

Probably due to fear of bad reputation abroad and loss of tourism revenues, harassing tourists has become rather uncommon in all European countries. You should not have to expect any situations with the Ukraine police.

  • 2
    In eastern Europe it's mostly highway police that still does that. They pull you over for "routine check" and find something to give you a ticket for. Usually speeding, or not wearing a seat belt. Regular cops usually don't do that.
    – ventsyv
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 19:45
  • 2
    @ventsyv Do they usually claim valid infractions, so that you can prevent this by driving lawfully? Or do they make something up and just back each other?
    – helm
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 22:55

We have been arrested and fined after alcool test showed 0.24 whereas that was 16 hours after drinking 2 beers. Police asked us cash and asked we say nothing to solve the problem, we'd been discussing already for 1 hour to explain we had no money then we gave some euros to get rid of them but regretted not having solved it differently.

  • 1
    This does not answer What should I do if I get caught by corrupt police in Ukraine but never want to pay?
    – user40521
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 12:16

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