In a travel alert by the State Department, U.S. citizens were also asked to “Exercise increased caution due to the risk of wrongful detentions”.
“U.S. citizens residing or travelling in Russia should depart immediately. Exercise increased caution due to the risk of wrongful detentions,” reads a top level travel alert issued by the State Department to citizens on Monday.
“Do not travel to 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 U.S. 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 U.S. citizens in Russia, and the possibility of terrorism,” the alert stated.
The top level alert has renewed concerns about the safety of Americans still on Russian soil especially as its ongoing war with Ukraine which began February 24 2022, approaches its first anniversary.
There have been rumours that Moscow may convene its troops to launch a sinister attack to mark its first year anniversary of invading Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov dismissed the warning, claiming it was “not a new thing,” Reuters quoted him to have said.
In August 2022, a Russian court sentenced U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner to nine years in prison on drug charges after cartridges containing cannabis oil for vaping were found in her luggage.
She was later released in December 2022 in a prisoner swap between the United States and the Russian Federation. Ms Briner was exchanged for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer nicknamed the ‘Merchant of Death.