I am U.S. citizen considering possible relocation to Kyiv, Ukraine for a new job.

Is it safe for Americans to live in Kyiv? Is there any serious chance of a major escalation of the current conflict, i.e. a full scale invasion of Ukraine, including military operations in/near Kyiv? Would NATO or the U.S. intervene if Kyiv was in danger of falling?

  • Kyiv is not a war zone. And unless you're planning to visit Donbass you won't be in one.
    – Karlson
    Commented Dec 7, 2014 at 4:14
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    For others confused by spelling: Kyiv (Київ), the capital of Ukraine, is more commonly spelled Kiev in English. Commented Dec 7, 2014 at 4:29
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    Have you read the (fairly out of date) US Department of State Travel Warning?
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Dec 7, 2014 at 16:18
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    Kyiv is the official English spelling now though I believe. Just as in India a lot of spellings of placenames are being updated around the world to reflect local pronunciation over historic English spellings. "Kiev" is based on the Russian pronunciation and "Kyiv" is based on the Ukrainian pronunciation. Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 3:14
  • 1
    I've asked a related question on Meta: Traditional English place names or current official English place names for tags? Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 6:01

4 Answers 4


My - as a citizen and resident of Ukraine - understanding is that your questions are set a bit wrong because media coverage is incredibly messy and biased.

No, Americans are not in any special danger in Ukraine in Kiev (even here in Kharkov). For a record, an American is heading Ministry of Finance at the moment and this is an excellent reflection on role of Americans in Ukraine today. No, NATO is not going to take any action here, it is highly unlikely.

The problem overall here is that the entire country keeps sinking into full scale financial collapse, specifically related to energy, in winter time, with average daily temperatures below zero Celsius... That is, the top potential issues on the list are emergency power outages, financial and transport deadlocks, related social unrest and increasing crime levels. It does not take to have an invasion in order to get into trouble of troubles.

I realize that getting this job might be something you really long for, however considering the events here it might be a good idea to hold on until at least warmer time.


Kyiv is approximately 550 km from the current front line of the War in Donbass. While there are no guarantees that the war won't expand as far as Kiev, it is highly unlikely that you wouldn't get the chance to leave before it happens. Remember that it took several months for local militia to take over Donetsk and Lugansk. Even conflicts as bad as the Syrian Civil War developed over a very long period, with plenty of warnings by the local embassies.

From personal experience I can say that Kiev is perfectly safe as of winter 2014 and there are absolutely no signs of an ongoing war.


I am in Kyiv for last 4 months, and it is no more dangerous than any other big city. Of course nobody can guarantee that war won't be here, but I consider it as highly unlikely. Even if escalation started in eastern regions, invaders would meet the more increasing resistance the farer they go to west.

In Kyiv there's no electricity or heat shortage right now (except minor issues not related to war in any way, the same as they happens in any other complex structure). Yes, there is a chance we will have it. Generally the shortage is solved by temporary switching off not critical objects (i.e. except hospitals etc) in districts, one different district each time. That means, if e.g. we have 10 such districts you'll suffer from one of 10 blackuots only.

On the other hand, if putin become crazy enough to use nuclear weapon than it wouldn't really matter which continent you are on.


We spent a week in Kiev this summer, as tourists. There was no security issue. If you have a job in hand or realistic expectations of getting one in from a multinational organization, you should not be deterred for security reasons.

English was spoken anywhere expensive. Of course, this may not be an issue for you.

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