United States citizens have been advised to leave Russia at once or cancel their plans to travel to that country due to the unpredictable consequences of the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
US citizens in Russia are exposed to potential harassment and detentions or the arbitrary application of local law, the US Embassy in Moscow warned while stressing that it haslimited capacity to assist them.
Exercise heightened caution due to the risk of wrongful detention, the Embassy said while recalling the suspension of operations at their consulates throughout Russia and noting that Russia may refuse to recognize dual U.S. citizenship, deny access to consular assistance, subject them to mobilization, prevent their departure from Russia, or recruit them.
The diplomatic mission also pointed out that US credit and debit cards do not work in Russia and that commercial flight options are extremely limited and often unavailable on short notice.
If you want to leave Russia, you should make arrangements independently as soon as possible, the Embassy insisted while underlining that US citizens, including retired or active duty military or civil servants and private citizens engaged in business or visiting or residing in Russia, have been unreasonably interrogated and threatened by Russian officials and have become victims of harassment, mistreatment, and extortion.
”Russian security services have detained US citizens on trumped-up charges (...) denied them fair and transparent treatment and convicted them in secret trials without presenting credible evidence, the Embassy went on.
It also noted that Russian authorities arbitrarily enforce local laws against U.S. religious workers and have opened questionable investigations against U.S. citizens involved in religious activities.
Hence, US citizens should avoid traveling to Russia to work or volunteer for non-governmental organizations or religious organizations, the diplomatic mission warned.
It also mentioned multiple security incidents in southwestern Russia related to the unprovoked and unwarranted invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian government declared on October 20, 2022, martial law in the regions bordering Ukraine, which allows for the rapid introduction of restrictive measures, the Embassy recalled.
Recent legislation expands the ability of Russian authorities to detain, interrogate and arrest individuals suspected of acting against Russian interests, including contacts with foreign and international entities, discrediting the Russian state or military, and defending the rights of LGBTQI+ people, the US diplomatic mission also pointed out.
In addition to that, terrorist groups, both transnational and domestic, and individuals inspired by extremist ideologies continue to plan potential attacks in Russia, the Embassy insisted while underlining that travel to the North Caucasus, including Chechnya and Mount Elbrus, is prohibited for US government employees and strongly discouraged for US citizens.”
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