Russia has begun a large-scale military attack on Ukraine, its southern neighbour, on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Recent reports suggest missile strikes and explosions are occurring near major cities, but the Ukrainian military claim to have shot down at least six Russian aircraft and lost at least 40 of its troops. Thousands of people are desperately trying to flee the capital Kiev. In the UK, however, aeroplane companies have announced the cancellations of hundreds of flights to and from Ukraine. So what countries are safe enough to visit as global tensions increase?
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has recently updated its advice for Ukraine and Russia.
The latest update for Russia is: “New information on restrictions on domestic flights to a number of airports in southern Russia, with disruption to internal flights to and from Moscow and other cities.
“New information on reports of increased police presence and ID checks. You should keep your passport with you at all times.”
The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to:
• Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan and the districts of Budyonnovsky, Levokumsky, Neftekumsky, Stepnovsky and Kursky in Stavropol Krai for security reasons.
• And within 20km of the border with the Ukrainian Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lugansk Oblasts and within 20km of the border with Ukraine in the Rostov, Belgorod, Voronezh, Kursk and Bryansk regions due to the build up of Russian forces and ongoing military exercises.
• North Ossetia, Karachai-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria (including the Elbrus area) as there are multiple reports of widespread military activity in Ukraine. You should not attempt to cross into Ukraine from Russia.
Today, Russian authorities also announced restrictions on domestic flights to a number of airports in southern Russia, with disruption to internal flights to and from Moscow and other cities.
The restrictions are set to be in place until March 2, 2022.
READ MORE: Ryanair suspends all flights in and out of Ukraine
The latest update for Ukraine is: “Ukraine’s airspace is closed.
“It is likely that commercial routes out of Ukraine will be severely disrupted and roads across Ukraine could be closed.”
The FCDO advises against all travel to Ukraine as there are “reports of widespread military activity and real risk to life”.
If you are a British national still in Ukraine, the FCDO asks you to register your presence, otherwise, they advise you to “leave Ukraine immediately if you judge it is safe to do so and to follow the advice of the Ukrainian authorities while you remain in Ukraine”.
So where is safe to travel to? Express.co.uk have the top three destinations:
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2. New Zealand
New Zealand is the second safest country to visit according to the GPI.
Around 200,000 British nationals visit New Zealand every year, and most visits are trouble-free.
Like Iceland, the crime rates are low, and the crime that does exist is mostly petty theft and bag snatching.
As for terrorism attacks, there haven’t been any in recent history.
To add to this, New Zealand’s national airline, Air New Zealand was ranked the number one safest airline for this year according to AirlineRaitings.com, so you’ll be in safe hands getting to there and back.
Before travelling to New Zealand, check for coronavirus restrictions.
Switzerland has ranked highly on the list of the most secure place in the world, for years.
The country itself is considered to be one with the highest standard of living and the most stable economy.
Historically, Switzerland has maintained a neutral position in times of war.
This neutrality was self-imposed, permanent, and designed to promote peace and security.
The last war that Switzerland was part of took place in 1847.
In addition to this, every household has a purpose-built underground bunker, which was built back in 1963.
It is estimated that the country is home to around 300,000 shelters, making it a top contender for avoiding a potential war.