Russia Invades Ukraine—What Travelers Need to Know

All Ukrainian, Moldovian, and some Belarusian airspace has closed to commercial flights due to Russia’s attack. Travelers have been asked to depart Ukraine by land immediately.

Russia Invades Ukraine—What Travelers Need to Know

Traffic jams filled the streets of Kyiv as people fled the capital city on Thursday, February 24.

Photo by AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine today, flight paths have been rerouted across the continent. According to the Associated Press, a commercial flight tracking website showed that an Israeli El Al Boeing 787 from Tel Aviv to Toronto turned abruptly out of Ukrainian airspace before detouring over Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland.

The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine has urged American citizens not to travel to Ukraine. Furthermore, those currently in the country have been told to “depart immediately using commercial or private means due to the increased threat of Russian military action.” The State Department has also provided a list of recommended border crossings, including specific ones in Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Moldova.

Those travelers should be sure to carry an ID, ensure all travel documents are valid, monitor local and international news for updates, and complete an online form so the State Department can communicate with them. Today, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv posted on Twitter that if anyone currently in Ukraine finds themselves under attack, they should seek cover if they “hear a loud explosion or if sirens are activated.”

Myriad other countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and beyond, are encouraging their citizens to leave without delay, if possible.

Ukraine and Russia both have “Level 4: Do not travel” warnings from the U.S. State Department due to the conflict. (They’d previously been on the list due to COVID-19.) At this time, only two other countries have Level 4 warnings for “unusual and concerning Russian military activity around Ukraine”: Moldova and Belarus. Moldova closed its airspace to civil flights, and Belarus has banned flights over the southern part of the country.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Associated Press contributed reporting.

Bailey Berg is a freelance travel writer and editor, who covers breaking news, trends, tips, transportation, sustainability, the outdoors, and more. She was formerly the associate travel news editor at AFAR. Her work can also be found in the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, the Points Guy, Atlas Obscura, Vice, Thrillist, Men’s Journal, Architectural Digest, Forbes, Lonely Planet, and beyond.
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