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In general, Kiev is as safe as most Western European countries.

There are, however, reports of racist attacks on those of African and Middle Eastern appearance.

Under Ukrainian law you are supposed to carry your passport with you at all times.

Although the police in Kiev are no angels, they don’t, unlike their counterparts in Moscow, routinely pester foreigners for documents and bribes.

We have never been stopped in the street by the police and very rarely see others being stopped and having their documents checked.

We personally consider it much better to leave our passports in a safe place than to routinely carry it in person and risk losing them. If you have committed an offence they will usually give you the option of going down the official route or paying a bribe and going on your way.

Having said that, official guidance from both the US and British embassies states that visitors should carry their passports with them at all times and keep copies in case of loss or theft. They are notoriously corrupt, though you should only come into contact with them if you are driving. Paying the bribe is cheaper than the official fine and less hassle.

Many drivers would argue that this is a better system, particularly those from countries such as the UK where fines are heavy and issued automatically.

The families of those killed in Ukraine by drunk or dangerous drivers would disagree.

It is completely possible in Ukraine to bribe the police and avoid a drink driving or other serious motoring conviction.

In our personal experience we have never been asked to pay a bribe when no traffic offence has been committed.

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