Ukraine civil war warning

This item appears on page 62 of the February 2016 issue.

The US Department of State continues to warn against traveling to Crimea and the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine. 

Russia-backed separatists still control areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, where an ongoing civil war has left at least 9,000 people dead since February 2014. A cease-fire agreement in February 2015 established a de facto dividing line between Ukrainian government-controlled and separatist-held areas of Ukraine, with numerous checkpoints controlled by government and separatist forces. Individuals, including US citizens, have been threatened, detained or kidnapped after being stopped at separatist checkpoints. 

There have been multiple casualties due to land mines in areas previously controlled by separatists, and separatist leaders have made statements indicating their desire to push the front line to the administrative borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. 

The government of Ukraine has stated that foreigners who enter Ukraine from Russia through separatist-controlled territory will not be allowed through checkpoints into government-controlled territory.