13

I am a citizen of Russia. I am planning to visit Crimea in summer 2018 to attend an educational camp. Apparently, I'm in the clear from the point of view of Russian authorities. I'm not sure if Ukrainian authorities may have issues with this. I don't want to lose an opportunity to visit Ukraine on later and separate trips.

  1. Do I risk being denied entry to Ukraine anytime later if I visit Crimea as a Russian citizen?
  2. Are there any documents I should file to the Ukrainian authorities?
  • 3
    Dear Sergei, you don't just risk it, you will be denied entrance, banned from entering Ukraine for next couple of years and have your visa history ruined. – ThisIsMyName May 5 '18 at 16:51
  • @ThisIsMyName if I don't want to break Ukrainian law, is "not going to Crimea" my only option? – svavil May 5 '18 at 17:01
  • 1
    @ThisIsMyName this suggestion is off-topic for Travel stack. I'm uninformed on the current stance of the Ukraine government on Russians travelling to Crimea, hence I'm asking this question. – svavil May 5 '18 at 17:24
  • 1
    bytebuster has provided with the comprehensive answer. – ThisIsMyName May 5 '18 at 18:13
10

Yes, you are risking of being denied. However, the actual threat depends on who you are, what position you obtain, and what other crimes you have committed besides¹ the illegal entry.


By 13 January 2018, about 1,500 foreign citizens were denied entry to Ukraine after they have illegally visited the temporarily-occupied Crimea — the Border Service of Ukraine (link, in Ukrainian).

In 2017, Ukraine has denied entry to Yuliya Samoylova, a Russian singer who has violated the border in the past and then was assigned to Eurovision 2017 song contest. On the other hand, yet there are no consequences to Samoylova for traveling to other countries, she apparently still has the opportunity to visit the EU.

Criminal prosecution: Article 332-1 of Criminal Code of Ukraine states that illegal entry to the temporarily-occupied territories with the aim of causing damage to the interest of state is prosecuted by law, imposing imprisonment for the term up to 3 years. By 22 August 2017, 24 persons were indicted on this crime.

¹) the letter says that if, besides the illegal entry, a person was indicted of a higher crime, their case is filed under the other article, thus not listed among these 24.

As of January 2018, the new system of biometric control connected to INTERPOL's databases has been introduced to eliminate use of forged identification documents.

Besides the Security Bureau of Ukraine (SBU) that maintains the official database of violators by performing official investigation and intelligence, there also exist several unofficial services maintained by Ukrainian volunteers by using primarily Open Source Intelligence (OSINT). Most notable ones are Myrotvorets Center and Inform Napalm.

The database of alleged crimes may include formulations like this:

The deliberate violation of the state border of Ukraine with the intent of penetrating Russia-occupied Crimea. [...] Organizing and participation in the games of the football cup [name]

(in Russian) Сознательное нарушение Государственной границы Украины с целью проникновения в оккупированный россией Крым. […] Организация и участие в играх кубка «Союза ветеранов футбола им. Л.Яшина»

As you see, despite the fact that football championship, likewise the educational camp, looks like a peaceful activity, this person is still listed here.

Personal opinion, backed by common sense only: provided that you are not a prominent criminal or a high-level official, you may slip once or twice, but there is no guarantee it would last long.


  1. Are there any documents I should file to the Ukrainian authorities?

Procedure for entry to the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and exit from it defines that foreign nationals can entry and exit from temporary occupied territory of Ukraine through special check points by presenting a passport and special permission issued by territorial body of State Migration Service of Ukraine or territorial body of Department for Migration Service of Ukraine in Novotroitsky or Genichesky district of Kherson oblast.

The document also contains:

  • valid reasons for visit (§ 21);
  • list of Border Control entities to apply at (§ 22);
  • forms to fill and documents to submit (§ 23);
  • specific list of check points to enter (§ 3);

It should also be noted that Russian citizens who obey the international law and apply for the special permission of the Ukrainian authorities, would inevitably attract the attention of the FSB — simply because it would be very easy to accuse such person of "denial of the territorial integrity of Russia", "extremism", etc.
For example, when Ksenija Sobchak, ex-presidential candidate of Russia, has applied for this permission, she was heavily criticized in the Russian propaganda outlets.

A standard disclaimer: YMMV.

  • 1
    I find it particularly strange that Sobchak didn't get that permission, despite trying to follow the rules. – svavil May 5 '18 at 8:03
  • 1
    Do you have an idea if everyone who visits Crimea from Russia (I guess it's hundreds of people daily at least, given the plane traffic) end up in Mirotvorets database? – svavil May 5 '18 at 8:05
  • 1
    @svavil, I suspect the Ukrainian authorities (and unofficial monitors) won't have everyone on their lists. But by visiting Crimea you run the risk that they /will/ have you. Chances are the methods the Ukrainian authorities use are not publicly known. You may well find that after visiting Crimea, the only way of knowing whether you'll be denied entry to Ukraine is to show up at the border post and see if they let you in. – Hedgehog May 5 '18 at 11:07
  • 1
    If I'm reading section 21 of the Procedure correct, there's no chance Ukraine will hand out the special permission to random Russian citizens and the special permission is only for family visits and exceptional cases? – svavil May 5 '18 at 11:22
  • 1
    @svavil You are correct about the Permits, which is why I didn't mention it, as you cannot get it anyway – Crazydre May 5 '18 at 13:24
3
  1. Do I risk being denied entry to Ukraine anytime later if I visit Crimea as a Russian citizen?

No, simply because the Ukrainians won't know about it unless you try entering Ukraine from Crimea, carry products labelled as being from Crimea, or are famous enough for your visit to reach the media.

  1. Are there any documents I should file to the Ukrainian authorities?

No, there is nothing you as a common visitor can do to make the Ukrainians approve of you visiting Crimea.

  • 8
    No, simply because the Ukrainians won't know very naive and judgmental statement, not proven by any reasoning. Even if you not a politician, pro-Russian activist or smb like that, your transportations can be monitored and you are under the risk of further ban. There are multiple ban cases with usual people, which are not covered in media just because these ppl are usual, not media-persons and not celebrity. – Suncatcher May 5 '18 at 8:28
  • Naturally, they can peek in your social networks and stuff to figure out whether you were in Crimea. However, they can do that and reject you regardless. – alamar May 5 '18 at 10:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.