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State Department Issues Dire Warning To American Citizens Who Are Still In Russia To Leave Immediately

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The U.S. Department of State has now issued a level 4 travel advisory telling American citizens to get out of Russia.

The advisory warned against reprisal and “harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials.”

It updated a previous level 4 warning that came around a week ago as sanctions increased against Russia by the United States and its allies during the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

It also warned that there would be limited ways in which the United States government could help citizens in Russia.

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“Do not travel to Russia due to the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine, the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials, the Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19 and related entry restrictions, terrorism, limited flights into and out of Russia, and the arbitrary enforcement of local law.  U.S. citizens should depart Russia immediately,” the warning said.

“U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Russia should depart immediately.  Limited commercial flight options are still available.  Overland routes by car and bus are also still open.  If you wish to depart Russia, you should make arrangements on your own as soon as possible.  If you plan to stay in Russia, understand the U.S. Embassy has severe limitations on its ability to assist U.S. citizens, and conditions, including transportation options, may change suddenly.  U.S. citizens who are able to depart Russia for another country and are in need of emergency assistance upon arrival may contact a U.S. embassy or consulate in that country,” it said.

“U.S. citizens should note that some credit and debit cards may be declined as a result of sanctions imposed on Russian banks.  Also, there are some reports of cash shortages within Russia.  U.S. citizens should make an alternative plan for access to money and finances if remaining in Russia.

“Due to Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine, an increasing number of airlines are cancelling flights into and out of Russia, and numerous countries have closed their airspace to Russian airlines.  In addition, airspace around southern Russia is restricted, and a number of airports in the area have closed.  U.S. 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 dangerous and unpredictable,” the alert said.

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“Given the ongoing armed conflict, U.S. citizens are strongly advised against traveling by land from Russia to Ukraine.  In addition, there is the potential throughout Russia of harassment of foreigners, including through regulations targeted specifically against foreigners.  Given the ongoing armed conflict and the potentially significant impact on international travel options, U.S. citizens should depart Russia immediately via the limited commercial options still available,” it said.

“The U.S. government’s ability to provide routine or emergency services to U.S. citizens in Russia is severely limited, particularly in areas far from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow due to Russian government limitations on travel, the number of U.S. staff, and the ongoing suspension of operations, including consular services, at U.S. consulates.

“On February 28, the Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of eligible family members and non-emergency personnel from U.S. Embassy Moscow,” it said.

It also warned against travel to “The North Caucasus, including Chechnya and Mount Elbrus, due to terrorism, kidnapping, and risk of civil unrest (and) Crimea due to Russia’s occupation of the Ukrainian territory and abuses by its occupying authorities.”

Mediaite reported:

In addition to airlines canceling incoming and outgoing flights, or abandoning travel related to Russia altogether, airspace across Europe has been affected by shutdowns of travel routes due to the conflict, further limiting the ability to depart.

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