Due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the possibility of harassment and detention at the hands of Kremlin security personnel, the State Department has advised any Americans who are still in Russia to leave right away.
”US citizens residing or traveling in Russia should depart immediately. Exercise increased caution due to the risk of wrongful detentions,”which was released on Monday.
Additionally, the department advised Americans not to visit Russia “due to the unpredictable consequences of the unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces, the potential for harassment and the singling out of US citizens for detention by Russian government security officials, the arbitrary enforcement of local law, limited flights into and out of Russia, the Embassy’s limited ability to assist US citizens in Russia, and the possibility of terrorism.”
According to the State Department, due to Russian travel limitations on embassy staff, the US government is “severely limited” in its capability to provide emergency services to Russian residents, particularly outside of Moscow.
The alert stated that US nationals had been held and questioned but cautioned that Russian authorities might not have informed the US embassy.
According to the State Department, “Russian security services have arrested US citizens on spurious charges, singled out US citizens in Russia for detention and harassment, denied them fair and transparent treatment, and convicted them in secret trials or without presenting credible evidence.”
Additionally, Russia has imposed martial law in areas that border Ukraine, allowing for a wide range of punitive measures including curfews, the confiscation of private property, limits on people’s movements, the detention of foreigners, and the prohibition of public gatherings.
The alert states that “Recent legislation has expanded the ability of Russian authorities to detain, question, and arrest individuals suspected of acting against Russia’s interests, including engaging with foreign and international entities, discrediting the Russian state or military, as well as advocating for the rights of LGBTQI+ persons.”
The State Department’s warning was scorned by the Kremlin as being “not new”.