Washington urges US citizens to avoid Russia
Americans should avoid visiting Russia because of the current Ukrainian crisis, Covid-19, and alleged “harassment by Russian government security officials,” among other reasons, the US State Department said on Sunday.
The agency issued a “Do Not Travel” advisory message, noting that the US government’s ability “to provide routine or emergency services” is “severely limited.”
“Due to Russia’s heightened military presence and ongoing military exercises along the border region with Ukraine, US citizens located in or considering travel to the districts of the Russian Federation immediately bordering Ukraine should be aware that the situation along the border is unpredictable and there is heightened tension,” the State Department’s advisory states, also noting a potential risk of terrorism, harassment, and “the arbitrary enforcement of local law.”
Washington has also put Ukraine on its “Do Not Travel” list “due to the increased threats of Russian military action and COVID-19.” The families of US diplomats have been ordered to leave Ukraine, while some embassy staffers were authorized to depart on a “voluntary” basis.
The US warning comes as tensions between Russia and Ukraine remain at an all-time high. In recent months, Western media outlets and politicians have accused Moscow of concentrating troops and military equipment on the border with Ukraine, allegedly with a view to launching an offensive in the near future.
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the claims, stating that Russia is simply moving its armed forces within its territory and that reports of an attack are groundless.