Slovakia/Hungary/Romania/Moldova/PMR - Ukraine

In spring 2018 I made the first trip to western borders of Ukraine. Earlier I wanted to visit the border between Ukraine and Belarus north of Kiev but that wouldn't work. It was hard to contact the Ukrainian border police and they were vague in their answers. It looked like you could only visit the border area when you have family living there.
I found a good alternative in the borders between Slovakia, Hungary and Romania with Ukraine. Most likely it would be easier to approach these borders from the EU-countries. Another advantage: these borders are close to eachother, especially the borders Slovakia/Ukraine and Hungary/Ukraine are short: that made it possible to reduce travel time and to visit some parts of these borders in four days.

As usual, the preparation took a long time. Six weeks before my planned visit (middle of April 2018) I contacted the authorities in Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.
The reaction from Hungary came fast and was short: no restrictions, but don't cross the State border. To avoid surprises I sent them in reply the detailled schedule with map of my intended hikes. No reaction but the day before my arrival, I was called by a Dutch guy working for Frontex in Záhony. He wanted to know some more details because the authorities were wondering why I wanted to hike along the State border. After my explanations there would be no problem. During my hikes the next day I didn't notice any border guard or activity. Which doesn't mean I was not noticed.

From Slovakia I got a friendly reaction: they forwarded my request to the region involved. The spokesperson of the Border and Alien Police Directorate in the region Sobrance, a very friendly lady contacted me and had lots of questions which I could easily answer: I sent her all my detailled plans. At the end of the hiking-day she even wanted to meet me. It turned out she informed all involved borderguard stations and everyone was aware of my arrival and my activities. I felt very welcome and everyone was kind and very helpful! The more questions in advance, the more doors are opened.

The same in Romania. My request was forwareded to the Border Police in the regions Halmeu and Tarna Mare. From both regions I got positive reactions. A friendly officer called me several times and in the end they gave permission for all my detailed plans. Before starting any activity I had to visit the regional Border Police stations.

This friendly approach in advance I didn't expect. I experienced in the last years that it becomes more difficult and complicated to visit the border areas, although the authorities do their best to help me: new and high tension between East and West, and the problems with illegal migrants and smuggling.

During my four days' visit I was supported by the Slovakian Border Police and by the Romanian Border Police in a surprising way. They took all time for me, helped me where ever they could and they treated me as a very welcomed person.
Many thanks again, it was great to feel your support and hospitality!

In October 2018 I planned to visit the north State Border between Moldova and Ukraine, but it took quite some effort to arrange this: it was not easy to get the required permit to stay in the border zone to take pictures of border markers. I had to postpone the three days' visit but but finally I got the full support of the Moldovan General Inspectorate of the Border Police for a trip in April 2019. During my three days' visit I was highly supported by the 'Poliția de Frontieră' in Edineț and in Criva, Briceni and Ocnița.
Everyone I met did the very best and was helpful and friendly, again in a surprising way. Most local bosses wanted to have pictures with me at one of 'their' border markers.
Report and pictures of the MD-UA 2019 expedition can be found here In April 2019 I also visited some border markers between Transnistria and Ukraine. I wrote to the The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (ПРИДНЕСТРОВСКОЙ МОЛДАВСКОЙ РЕСПУБЛИКИ) and I got permission to visit some parts of the border, of course under strict guidance of the border authorities of Pridnestrovie. These seemed Russian soldiers who didn't speak English, so it was hard to communicate with them. And although there were many restrictions, I succeeded. Report and pictures of the 2019 expedition can be found here

In summer 2023 I planned a second visit to the Moldovan - Ukrainian border. Now I wanted to visit a part of the southern border area. The border there contains long straight lines, sometimes with strange forms. Again, I got full cooperation in the preparation of Poliția de Frontieră region EST in Stefan Voda. As usual I made a very detailed plan of my activities in the border area. During my 3 days' visit in September 2023, it looked I was free to go in the area of the villages between Saiti and Basarabeasca. Sometimes I met border guards: when they checked my permission, their suspicion chanched into cooperation and friendlyness.
Only during the first days of my visit I had some problems and it took almost two hours of waiting and calling before the border guards were convinced that I was allowed to continue my activities as without the right permission it's strictly forbidden to make pictures of the border and the border markers. "I hope there will be no incidents", I read on the border guards' phone which he used as translation tool, as most of them don't speak English.
Indeed, during my visit I had no incidents by breaking the rules of the border regime. The only incident was that one day my car got stuck on very bad road in the forest. I couldn't move forward or backward and I called the Politia de Frontiera. They came and helped me out. For them I think it was a pleasant change of their patrolling. What a helpful and great attitude!

Report and pictures of the 2023 expedition can be found on the pages with pictures (0655 - 0724).
For me the border between Moldova and Ukraine is very attractive. Most of the border markers are quite easy to access, most of them are in open field or very well visible. The landscape is flat or slightly uneven. It's a pleasure to be in such a quiet, sparsely populated and wonderful area.
In April 2024 I came back for the MD-UA border between the Nistru river and Copceac (0608 - 0654) and for the part between Basarabeasca and Cairaclia (0725 - 0756). Again I got the right permissions and the full and very freindly cooperation of the Poliția de Frontieră.

If you ever have the idea to visit parts of the State border between MD and UA, please don't do this without proper preparation:
- get in contact with the involved Border Police first to discuss your detailled plans; you need a permit to enter the border zone and a explicite permit to make pictures of the border markers..
- always keep a safe distance from the State border to avoid confusion;
- respect all fences, wires, warnings and 'STOP' signs;
- in all cases: be aware that the authorities have very sophisticated methods to trace you, even on places where you would not expect this: you will only experience this whenever you violate any of their rules. Big brother is watching you, that's their profession and their duty. Penalties are high, you will loose any good-will and any confidence. So be warned!

If you want more specific information, you can contact me any time.