The U.S. State Department on Monday ordered that all U.S. citizens should leave Russia as the war in Ukraine intensifies which has brought forth more concerns about possible arbitrary detentions. The U.S. embassy in Moscow issued a warning asking all U.S. citizens whether residing or traveling to Russia to leave the country immediately as worries about wrongful detentions grow.
The department also added to its warning that U.S. citizens should not travel to Russia.
The embassy noted that there are currently many limitations to the assistance they can provide to U.S. citizens in Russia due to “staffing limitations, travel restrictions, and the suspended consular services.” Americans have been advised to find a way to exit the country immediately.
Currently U.S. debit and credit cards do not work within Russia, and electronic fund transfers are also heavily limited due to the sanctions imposed on the country. In their warning, the embassy noted that “Russian security services have arrested U.S. citizens on spurious charges.” They add that U.S. citizens specifically have been targeted within the country “for detention and harassment,” and that they have been “convicted in secret trials or without presenting credible evidence.”
The Kremlin dismissed the issued warning noting that the embassy had previously made similar calls in September, following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision for more Russian mobilization in Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that these sorts of warnings have been issued in the past and that they aren’t something new.