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27 Mar, 2024 14:45

Russians warned over foreign travel 

The US has extradition treaties with over 100 countries, including popular tourist destinations, the Foreign Ministry in Moscow has noted
Russians warned over foreign travel 

Russian citizens should exercise extreme caution when planning trips outside the country, the Foreign Ministry in Moscow has warned, citing the risk of arrest and extradition to the US by third nations.   

In a statement to RIA Novosti on Wednesday, the ministry reiterated its recommendation to “carefully weigh the risks when planning trips abroad and staying in certain countries.”   

It warned that Russians could be “detained or arrested” at the request of American law enforcement agencies or special services, noting that the US has extradition agreements with more than 100 countries, including Thailand, Egypt, Türkiye, and Israel, which are popular tourist destinations.  

The ministry also said it has received complaints from Russian travelers about certain EU restrictions on importing their personal belongings and entering the bloc in cars with Russian license plates. The import measures stem from Western sanctions over the Ukraine conflict.  

Diplomats added that while they continue to issue specific travel warnings, Russian citizens should always be mindful that once they leave the country, they “voluntarily come under foreign jurisdiction, which implies an obligation to comply” with local laws and regulations.  

Moscow has long warned Russian citizens that they could be extradited to the US from certain countries, claiming that experience shows that people who have effectively been “kidnapped” by the US often face an extremely biased trial on American soil.   

There have been at least a dozen instances of foreign countries extraditing Russians to the US in recent years, including the high-profile cases of businessman Viktor Bout and pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko.  

Bout was arrested in a US sting operation in Thailand in 2008 and extradited to America two years later. He was convicted by a US court on arms trafficking charges and sentenced to 25 years. Bout has always denied the charges, insisting he was a victim of geopolitics. He was freed in a prisoner swap in 2022 in exchange for Moscow’s release of American basketball player Brittney Griner, who had been arrested on drug charges.  

Yaroshenko was arrested in 2011 in Liberia, which also has an extradition treaty with the US, on drug smuggling charges, which he has denied. After being convicted in the US a year later and spending 11 years in an American prison, he was exchanged for former US Marine Trevor Reed.

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