The US Embassy in Russia has urged all Americans to “depart immediately” from the country due to the war in Ukraine and the risk of arbitrary arrest or harassment by Russian law enforcement agencies. “U.S. citizens residing or travelling in Russia should depart immediately. Exercise increased caution due to the risk of wrongful detentions,” stated the travel advisory dated February 12. “Do not travel to Russia,” it added.
It also underlined that US debit and credit cards do not work in Russia due to sanctions imposed on Russian banks and said that options for electronically transferring funds were limited.The right of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are not consistently protected in Russia.
U.S. citizens should avoid all political or social protests and not photograph security personnel at these events. Russian authorities have arrested U.S. citizens who have participated in demonstrations. The United States has been making such warnings repeatedly for its citizens to leave Russia. The last such public warning was issued in September after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilisation.
“Russian security services have arrested U.S. citizens on spurious charges, singled out U.S. citizens in Russia for detention and harassment, denied them fair and transparent treatment, and convicted them in secret trials or without presenting credible evidence,” the embassy said. “Russian authorities arbitrarily enforce local laws against U.S. citizen religious workers and have opened questionable criminal investigations against U.S. citizens engaged in religious activity.
“In January, the Federal Security Service had said that Russia had opened a criminal case against a United States citizen on suspicion of espionage.On Friday, Russia had attacked several power grids across Ukraine on Friday where President Volodymy Zelenskyy returned from a tour of western capitals, reported news agency Reuters quoting officials adding that a long-awaited Russian offensive was underway in the east.
Russian forces fired more than 100 missiles throughout the country and staged 12 air and 20 shelling attacks, said Ukraine’s armed forces in an evening update. 61 cruise missiles were destroyed, the Facebook post added. According to energy minister German Galushchenko, Russia had hit power grids in six regions with missiles and drones, causing blackouts across most of Ukraine.