The United States has told its citizens in Russia to leave immediately due to the war in Ukraine and the risk of potential harassment and arbitrary arrest by Russian law enforcement agencies.
“U.S. citizens residing or travelling in Russia should depart immediately,” the US Mission Russia said in an updated travel advisory issued by the US State Department. “Exercise increased caution due to the risk of wrongful detentions,” it said.
“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.”
Russian security services have increased the arbitrary enforcement of laws “to target foreign and international organizations they consider ‘undesirable,'” the advisory added.
Some context: Several US citizens remain detained in Russia, including Paul Whelan, a former US Marine who US officials say is being wrongfully detained. He was arrested in Russia in December 2018 and sentenced to 16 years in prison. The US has repeatedly advised its citizens against travel to Russia and to leave the country immediately if there.