The United States has asked its citizens to leave Russia immediately due to the risk of ‘arbitrary arrest or harassment’ by local law enforcement agencies in the backdrop of the ongoing Russian offensive in Ukraine. “US citizens residing or travelling in Russia should depart immediately. Exercise increased caution due to the risk of wrongful detentions,” the US embassy in Moscow said, adding ‘Do not travel to Russia,’ as per Reuters.
“Russian security services have arrested US citizens on spurious charges, singled out US 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 added.
“Russian authorities arbitrarily enforce local laws against US citizen religious workers and have opened questionable criminal investigations against US citizens engaged in religious activity,” the statement further said.
The statement also highlighted that US debit and credit cards do not work in Russia given the sanctions imposed on Russian banks and noted that options for electronically transferring funds were limited.
Notably, the US has repeatedly warned its citizens to leave Russia. The Federal Security Service(FSB) noted in January that Russia had opened a criminal case against a US citizen on ‘suspicion of espionage.’