Russian policeman on Red Square in Moscow – illustration photo
Moscow – The United States has advised its citizens residing in Russia to leave the country immediately. They cite the war in Ukraine or the possibility of arbitrary arrest as a reason. This was reported on its website by the US Embassy in Russia. Today, the French Foreign Ministry strongly warned its citizens against traveling to Belarus, due to the new offensive that Russia has launched in Ukraine.
“US citizens residing in or traveling to Russia should leave immediately,” the US embassy said. “Do not travel to Russia due to the unforeseen consequences of an unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces, the possibility of harassment and detention of US citizens by Russian security forces, and arbitrary enforcement of local laws,” the statement said. According to the embassy, representatives of churches and non-governmental organizations should also avoid traveling to Russia.
The United States has called on its citizens to leave Russia in the past. The last time they issued such a warning in September was in response to the announcement of partial mobilization by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Reuters reported.
Russian security forces, according to Washington, arrest or harass American citizens on false charges, deny them fair and transparent treatment and convicting them in secret trials or without presenting credible evidence.
Russia's FSB secret service said in January it had opened criminal charges against a US citizen on suspicion of espionage. Today, according to Reuters, Russia's SVR intelligence announced that it had received intelligence that the US military was preparing Islamist fighters to attack targets in Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union. The Russian side's claims could not be independently verified.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine caused the biggest crisis in relations between Washington and Moscow since the Cold War. The US is a key political and military supporter of Ukraine. Russian President Putin has repeatedly accused the US of refusing to take into account Russian interests. US President Joe Biden calls Putin an autocrat who poses a threat to the United States.