I got married in Odessa, to an interpreter, and both she, and my now stepson moved to be with me in Europe. She talks daily to her parents via Skype. We had many Christmases this year, Western & Orthodox, a great time was had by all.
It's true what they say, that most of this is a scam, (in ways you cannot imagine) and that everyone gets paid. But the numbers work like this, 90% of men write but never visit. That is the basic business model right there. Many (working) women rely on their interpreters to be at the beck and call of the men that write. Because they're only interested in the 10% of men that visit, and they may or may not have internet access. If you were poorly paid in a bad economy, and somebody offered you money and gifts you'd take it too, right? You'd be dumb not to. Average salary is $2-300 a month. Food is cheap, clothes and kids stuff are not.
Anastasia are a very serious, (Russian) company, and they actively recruit the women, (ads are all over the city) but the "scams" are perpetrated by the women themselves. Because the fines are so steep for the local agencies that front for Anastasia, especially if they get caught faking chats, ($5k) that they would be stupid to do it. Without Anastasia they have no clients. I used Anastasia. They were nothing but straight with me.
For the 10% that do travel. yes you pay for an interpreter, but would you go to meet a strange foreign man alone? Think of them as chaperones, or employees, there to do your bidding. A lot of that can be avoided if you only look for women who can speak English, and you're not naive or overly gullible. You can just say "No" if the women ask you to go shopping, they'll lose interest soon enough. Similarly, if a woman is unwilling to sit close to you or hold hands, after a few dates, despite being "involved" then she's also not interested. This is a culture where men are still men, and women know the value of a good man. The women are not stupid, they were brought up amongst men, they know one when they see one, and will make their intentions plain enough. As a woman, if you're not married by the time you're 30 in Ukraine/Russia, you're unlikely to get married, and since all the women look good then competition for a decent man, even to be noticed, is fierce. Beauty when commonplace has no value.
Only 10% of men who visit get married, that makes your chances of success 1% overall. This is a high risk endeavour. It is also not cheap. Most of the men who succeed are men who travel alone to visit one woman, (as I did) Otherwise the women know you're "shopping" and they won't take you seriously. The tours are their own thing, a good way to get there if you're scared, a bad way to meet women. The agencies need women to show up, so those you meet are often just interested in the free night out.
The perception is that all Westerners are rich, if you play up to that you'll be taken at your word, (and may be taken for a fool) but a real man wouldn't behave that way in country. If you talk seriously to a woman, she'll talk seriously back, the women are very intelligent and very direct. They know what's in it for them, and a serious man is worth a lot to a serious woman. Ask to meet her friends and parents.
If you do your homework you will find a dissertation by a US student that claims to look at the process with a feminist eye, she looks at both Ukrainian women and Philippina women interviews many, expecting to find something sordid. What she found was that Ukrainian women were not brainwashed, or stupid, but they had no use for modern Western feminism. Not only that, such marriages have a far better success rate than the average America marriage. The Ukrainian women who are serious about this are very serious.
Do your homework, understand the risks, travel early, travel often. Good Luck.