January 25, 2022

News

News Network

Ukraine Travel Advisory

12 min read

Reconsider travel to Ukraine due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution due to crime and civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.    

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Ukraine due to COVID-19.   

Ukraine has resumed most transportation options, (including airport operations and re-opening of borders) and business operations (including day cares and schools). Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Ukraine.

Do not travel to:

  • Crimea due to arbitrary detentions and other abuses by Russian occupation authorities.
  • The eastern parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, especially the non-government-controlled areas, due to armed conflict.

Crime targeting foreigners and property is common. Demonstrations, which have turned violent at times, regularly occur throughout Ukraine, including in Kyiv. Politically targeted assassinations and bombings have also occurred. There are reports of violent attacks on minority groups and police by radical groups.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits U.S. civil aviation from flying in the Ukrainian Simferopol (UKFV) and Dnipropetrovsk (UKDV) Flight Information Regions. For more information, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

Read the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Ukraine:

 

Crimea – Do Not Travel

Russia occupies and has attempted to annex Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, and there is extensive Russian Federation military presence in Crimea. Occupation authorities continue to abuse and arbitrarily imprison foreigners and the local population, particularly individuals who are seen as opposing Russia’s occupation of the peninsula.

The U.S. government prohibits its employees from traveling to Crimea and is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Crimea.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

 

Donetsk and Luhansk – Do Not Travel

Russia-led forces continue to control areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, where the ongoing armed conflict has resulted in more than 13,000 deaths. Individuals, including U.S. citizens, have been threatened, detained, or kidnapped for hours or days after being stopped at checkpoints controlled by Russia-led forces. The U.S. government restricts U.S. government employees from traveling to the eastern parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and adjacent regions, which limits the ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizen in these regions.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.

News Network

  • United States Seizes More Domain Names Used by Foreign Terrorist Organization
    In Crime News
    The United States has [Read More…]
  • The United States Officially Rejoins the Paris Agreement
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Russian National Extradited to United States to Face Charges for Alleged Role in Cybercriminal Organization
    In Crime News
    A Russian national, residing in the Yakutsk region of Russia and in Southeast Asia, had his initial appearance in federal court today after his extradition from the Republic of Korea to the Northern District of Ohio to face charges for his alleged role in a transnational, cybercriminal organization.
    [Read More…]
  • NASA Human Space Exploration: Significant Investments in Future Capabilities Require Strengthened Management Oversight
    In U.S GAO News
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) again delayed the planned launch date for Artemis I, the first uncrewed test flight involving three closely related human spaceflight programs—the Orion crew vehicle, Space Launch System (SLS), and Exploration Ground Systems (EGS). Together, these programs aim to continue human space exploration beyond low-Earth orbit. The most recent delay, to November 2021, resulted in part from manufacturing challenges and represents a 36-month slip since NASA established a schedule to measure performance in 2014. This new launch date does not account for the effects of COVID-19. According to NASA officials, COVID-19 delays and schedule risks will place pressure on NASA's ability to achieve this launch date. Development cost estimates for key programs also increased. The cost of the SLS program increased by 42.5 percent and the EGS program by 32.3 percent since 2014, for a combined increase of over $3 billion, bringing the total to $11.5 billion. NASA does not plan to complete revised estimates for Orion, which are tied to the second, crewed test flight (Artemis II) before spring 2021. Key Parts of Space Launch System Ready for Testing at Stennis Space Center NASA awarded billions of dollars in development and production contracts to support flights beyond Artemis I, but the flight schedule has changed frequently due to a lack of clear requirements and time frames for planned capability upgrades. Limited NASA oversight also places efforts to plan and execute future flights at risk of adverse outcomes, such as increased costs or delays. For example, NASA is committed to establishing cost and schedule performance baselines for these efforts, but it plans to do so too late in the acquisition process to be useful as an oversight tool. In addition, senior leaders do not receive consistent and comprehensive information at quarterly briefings on future efforts, such as a program to begin developing a more powerful upper stage for SLS. This is because current updates provided to NASA management focus primarily on the more short-term Artemis I and II flights. This approach places billions of dollars at risk of insufficient NASA oversight. NASA is pursuing an aggressive goal to return American astronauts to the surface of the Moon by the end of 2024. The success of NASA's plans hinges, in part, on two upcoming test flights. An uncrewed test flight and subsequent crewed test flight are intended to demonstrate the capability of a new launch vehicle, crew capsule, and ground systems. The House Committee on Appropriations included a provision in its 2017 report for GAO to continue to review NASA's human space exploration programs. This is the latest in a series of GAO reports addressing this topic. This report assesses (1) the progress the programs are making towards the first test flight, known as Artemis I, with respect to schedule and cost, and (2) the extent to which NASA's human space exploration programs are positioned to support the planned Artemis flight schedule beyond Artemis I. To do this work, GAO examined program cost and schedule reports, test plans, and contracts, and interviewed officials. GAO also assessed the extent to which the COVID-19 state of emergency has affected schedules for these programs. GAO is making two recommendations to NASA to establish baselines ahead of a key design review and improve internal reporting about capability upgrades for human space exploration programs beyond Artemis I. NASA concurred with the recommendations made in this report. For more information, contact William Russell at (202) 512-4841 or russellw@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Ireland Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken at a Press Availability
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Statement of the Attorney General on the Announcement Of Civil Antitrust Lawsuit Filed Against Google
    In Crime News
    Attorney General William P. Barr released the following statement.
    [Read More…]
  • Colombian National Charged in Connection with Plot to Kill Haitian President
    In Crime News
    A Colombian national was arrested based on a criminal complaint filed in the Southern District of Florida.
    [Read More…]
  • Six Charged in Connection with a $3 Million Paycheck Protection Program Fraud Scheme
    In Crime News
    Six individuals were charged in an indictment with fraudulently obtaining approximately $1.5 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans on behalf of five businesses based in Georgia and South Carolina.
    [Read More…]
  • Financial Audit: IRS’s FY 2021 and FY 2020 Financial Statements
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found In GAO's opinion, the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) fiscal years 2021 and 2020 financial statements are fairly presented in all material respects, and although certain controls could be improved, IRS maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of September 30, 2021. GAO's tests of IRS's compliance with selected provisions of applicable laws, regulations, contracts, and grant agreements disclosed no instances of reportable noncompliance in fiscal year 2021. Limitations in the financial systems IRS uses to account for federal taxes receivable and other unpaid assessment balances, as well as other control deficiencies that led to errors in taxpayer accounts, continued to exist during fiscal year 2021.These control deficiencies affect IRS's ability to produce reliable financial statements without using significant compensating procedures. In addition, unresolved and newly identified information system security control deficiencies in such areas as access controls and configuration of security settings increased the risk of unauthorized access to, modification of, or disclosure of sensitive financial and taxpayer data and disruption of critical operations in fiscal year 2021. IRS continues to take steps to improve internal controls in these areas. However, the remaining deficiencies are significant enough to merit the attention of those charged with governance of IRS and therefore represent continuing significant deficiencies in internal control over financial reporting related to (1) unpaid assessments and (2) financial reporting systems. Continued management attention is essential to fully addressing these significant deficiencies. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, enacted in December 2020, and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, enacted in March 2021, as well as other COVID-19 pandemic relief laws, contained a number of provisions, including the second and third rounds of direct payments (i.e., economic impact payments) totaling over $569 billion in fiscal year 2021, for eligible individuals to address financial stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of monitoring and oversight of the federal government's efforts to prepare for, respond to, and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, GAO has issued a number of reports on federal agencies' implementation of COVID-19 pandemic relief laws, including reports providing information on, and recommendations to strengthen, IRS's implementation of the tax-related provisions. Similar to GAO's prior year findings for the processing of the first round of economic impact payments, GAO's work in fiscal year 2021 found that IRS faced challenges issuing the second and third rounds of payments to certain eligible recipients and preventing improper payments. In commenting on a draft of this report, IRS noted its intention to continue working to improve its internal controls. Why GAO Did This Study In accordance with the authority conferred by the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, as amended, and because of the significance of IRS's tax collections to the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government, which GAO is required to audit, GAO annually audits IRS's financial statements to determine whether (1) the financial statements are fairly presented and (2) IRS management maintained effective internal control over financial reporting. GAO also tests IRS's compliance with selected provisions of applicable laws, regulations, contracts, and grant agreements. IRS's tax collection activities are significant to overall federal receipts, and the effectiveness of its financial management is of substantial interest to Congress and the nation's taxpayers. For more information, contact Dawn B. Simpson at (202) 512-3406 or simpsondb@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Commercial Flooring Company Pleads Guilty to Antitrust and Money Laundering Charges
    In Crime News
    Mr. David’s Flooring International LLC (Mr. David’s), a Chicago-based commercial flooring contractor, pleaded guilty after being charged for its role in a long-running conspiracy to rig bids and fix prices for commercial flooring products and services, and for its role in a money laundering conspiracy involving kickbacks.
    [Read More…]
  • Chinese National Pleads Guilty to Economic Espionage Conspiracy
    In Crime News
    Xiang Haitao, 44, a Chinese national formerly residing in Chesterfield, Missouri, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit economic espionage.
    [Read More…]
  • Five Charged in Connection with an over $4 Million Paycheck Protection Program Fraud Scheme
    In Crime News
    Five individuals were charged in an indictment with fraudulently obtaining more than $4 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and using those funds, in part, to purchase luxury vehicles. Authorities have seized a Range Rover worth approximately $125,000, jewelry, over $120,000 in cash, and over $3 million from 10 bank accounts at the time of arrest.
    [Read More…]
  • Probation Official Charged with Child Pornography Offenses
    In Crime News
    A Pennsylvania man made his initial appearance today after being charged in an indictment with multiple child pornography offenses.
    [Read More…]
  • Lithuania Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
  • Bank Supervision: FDIC Could Better Address Regulatory Capture Risks
    In U.S GAO News
    The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has designed policies to address the risk of regulatory capture by reducing the potential benefit to industry of capturing the examination process, reducing avenues of inducement, and promoting a culture of independence and public service (see figure). Framework for Reducing Risk and Minimizing Consequences of Regulatory Capture FDIC has several policies for documenting bank examination decisions that help promote transparent decision-making and assign responsibility for decisions. Such policies are likely to help reduce benefits to industry of capturing the examination process. However, GAO found that some examinations were not implemented consistent with FDIC policies and that gaps in FDIC policies limited their effectiveness. For example, GAO found that managers sometimes did not clearly document how they concluded that banks had addressed recommendations. By improving adherence to agency policies, FDIC management could better address threats to capture in the examination process. GAO found that FDIC has policies to address potential conflicts of interest that could help block or reduce avenues of inducement. For example, FDIC has post-employment conflict-of-interest policies designed to prevent former employees from exerting undue influence on FDIC and to reduce industry's ability to induce current FDIC employees with prospective employment arrangements. One such policy requires the agency to review the workpapers of examiners-in-charge who accept employment with banks they examined in the prior 18 months. However, FDIC has not fully implemented a process for identifying when to review the workpapers of departing examiners to assess whether independence has been compromised. In particular, FDIC does not have a process for collecting information about departing employees' future employment. By revising its examiner-departure processes, the agency could better identify when to initiate workpaper reviews. FDIC has identified regulatory capture as a risk as part of its enterprise risk management process. The agency has documented 11 mitigation strategies that could help address that risk. Identified mitigation strategies include rotating examiners-in-charge, national examination training, and ethics requirements. FDIC supervises about 3,300 financial institutions to evaluate their safety and soundness. Some analyses by academic researchers have identified regulatory capture in supervision as one potential factor contributing to the 2007–2009 financial crisis. Regulatory capture is defined as a regulator acting in the interest of the regulated industry rather than in the public interest. GAO was asked to review regulatory capture in financial regulation. This report examines FDIC's (1) processes for encouraging transparency and accountability in the bank examination process, (2) processes to minimize potential conflicts of interest among examination staff, and (3) agency-wide efforts to address the risks of regulatory capture and compromised independence. GAO reviewed FDIC's policies and enterprise risk management framework, analyzed bank examination workpapers, and interviewed supervisory staff. GAO is making four recommendations to FDIC related to managing the risk of regulatory capture, including improving documentation of banks' progress at addressing FDIC recommendations and revising examiner-departure processes. FDIC neither agreed nor disagreed with these recommendations, but described actions it would take in response to them. FDIC's actions, if fully implemented, would address two of the four recommendations. For more information, contact Michael Clements at (202) 512-8678 or clementsm@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Settles with Indiana School District to Resolve Disability Discrimination Investigation into School Seclusion and Restraint Practices
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department today announced a settlement agreement with the North Gibson School Corporation in Princeton, Indiana, to address and prevent the discriminatory secluding and restraining of students with disabilities.
    [Read More…]
  • Assistant Attorney General Delrahim Delivers Remarks at the Antitrust Division’s Seventh Annual Diversity Celebration
    In Crime News
    Thank you, Matthew, for that kind introduction. And good afternoon everyone. It is great to be joined by so many colleagues from across the Antitrust Division and beyond.
    [Read More…]
  • Freshwater Programs: Federal Agencies’ Funding in the United States and Abroad
    In U.S GAO News
    As the world's population tripled during the past century, demand for the finite amount of freshwater resources increased six-fold, straining these resources for many countries, including the United States. The United Nations estimates that, worldwide, more than 1 billion people live without access to clean drinking water and over 2.4 billion people lack the basic sanitation needed for human health. Freshwater supply shortages--already evident in the drought-ridden western United States--pose serious challenges and can have economic, social, and environmental consequences. Multiple federal agencies share responsibility for managing freshwater resources, but consolidated information on the federal government's financial support of these activities is not readily accessible. GAO was asked to determine for fiscal years 2000 through 2004 how much financial support federal agencies provided for freshwater programs in the United States and abroad. For the purposes of this report, freshwater programs include desalination, drinking water supply, flood control, irrigation, navigation, wastewater treatment, water conservation, water dispute management, and watershed management.Of the over $52 billion in total financial support provided by federal agencies for freshwater programs during fiscal years 2000 through 2004, about $49 billion was directed to domestic programs and about $3 billion supported programs abroad. Domestic program activities involved 27 federal agencies, but 3 agencies--the Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of Agriculture's (Agriculture) Rural Utilities Service--accounted for over 70 percent of the financial support. Eighteen agencies supported domestic drinking water supply programs and 16 supported domestic wastewater treatment and watershed management programs. Grant programs of over $22 billion and direct federal spending of about $22 billion accounted for most of the domestic financial support. In addition to the about $49 billion that directly support freshwater activities in the United States, some agencies also have programs that may indirectly support such activities, but it is difficult to determine the dollar value of this indirect support. For example, Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Program supports multiple activities, including irrigation, but information on each activity supported by the program is not readily available. Also included in the domestic program is about $175 million that the United States provided to three commissions that conduct freshwater activities along U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada. Of the estimated $3 billion in total financial support directed toward freshwater programs abroad between fiscal years 2000 through 2004, about $1 billion was recently provided for freshwater projects in Afghanistan and Iraq. Most of the financial support for international freshwater programs was provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Foreign wastewater treatment and watershed management programs were the ones that most of the agencies supported. The vast majority of the U.S. support for international programs was provided through grants. Not included in the $3 billion for international support are the contributions that the United States made to the general budgets of numerous international organizations, such as the United Nations and the World Bank. The international organizations used some portion of the U.S. contributions to support freshwater activities around the globe.
    [Read More…]
  • Second Japan-U.S. Clean Energy Partnership (JUCEP) Plenary Recognizes Achievements and Affirms Indo-Pacific Support Plans
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.