‘Keep calm and visit Ukraine’: country launches tourism campaign despite threat of Russian invasion

The upbeat campaign insists there is ‘no reason to panic’

Joanna Whitehead
Monday 31 January 2022 17:30 GMT
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<p>St Michael’s Golden-Domed monastery in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev </p>

St Michael’s Golden-Domed monastery in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev

Ukraine’s tourism board is encouraging visitors to “Keep calm and visit Ukraine”, despite the looming threat of a Russian invasion.

More than 100,000 Russian troops have gathered close to the border of Europe’s second-largest country.

A recent statement from the Visit Ukraine campaign states that there is “no reason to panic”, however, and that the “situation on the Ukrainian border remains under control”.

“There is too little positive news in the information space today,” states the press release, which calls on people to visit “majestic Kiev, sleepless Kharkiv, fragrant Lviv, cozy Chernivtsi, exciting Odesa, mighty Zaporizhzhia, amazing Kherson.”

Ukraine attracts thousands of tourists each year to the lively and historic cities of Kiev and Odessa.

The site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster is also a draw for many tourists under what has been labelled “dark tourism”.

A hit 2019 HBO mini-series about the incident reignited interest in the unusual “attraction”.

The show’s screenwriter Craig Mazin said that while it was “wonderful that #ChernobylHBO has inspired a wave of tourism to the Zone of Exclusion”, visitors should remember that it is the site of a “terrible tragedy”. He tweeted: “Comport yourselves with respect for all who suffered and sacrificed.”

His comments came after visitors to Pripyat were criticised for sharing “inappropriate” selfies at the site.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) currently advises against all but essential travel to Ukraine, while the US Department of State Travel puts the country at Level 4: Do Not Travel.

Tensions in eastern Ukraine have escalated in recent days, with the killing of Ukrainian soldiers at an aerospace factory.

Despite blood supplies being sent to the frontline, Moscow continues to state that it does not plan to invade the former Soviet state.

Boris Johnson is expected to speak to the Russian leader on Monday, ahead of a visit to eastern Europe.

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