US Tells All Americans to 'Immediately' Leave Russia to Avoid Arrest or Forced Military Service in Ukraine

U.S. Embassy in Moscow
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow told all Americans in Russia to "immediately" leave.Getty

The United States told all U.S. citizens to depart Russia "immediately" to avoid arbitrary arrest and forced military service in Ukraine.

The United States Embassy in Moscow has told all American citizens to "immediately depart" Russia to avoid arbitrary arrest, harassment and forced military service in Ukraine.

The warning was posted late Sunday by embassy officials and warned Americans to "exercise increased caution due to the risk of wrongful detentions." It also said, "Do not travel to Russia."

The warning came just days after the White House announced President Joe Biden will travel to neighboring Poland next week ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

A National Security Council spokesperson said there is fear that Russian attacks on Ukraine could "get more vicious" as warmer weather approaches. 

The U.S. embassy alerted Americans to arrange private exits from Russia, and warned that U.S. credit and debit cards no longer worked in the country. 

"In September, the Russian government mobilized citizens to the armed forces in support of its invasion of Ukraine," the advisory said.

Those with dual United States-Russian citizenship could face dire circumstances, the warning said.

"Russia may refuse to acknowledge dual nationals' U.S. citizenship, deny their access to U.S. consular assistance, subject them to mobilization, prevent their departure from Russia, and/or conscript them," the advisory said.

Some U.S. citizens have already been harassed and treated unfairly, the U.S. said.

Others have been convicted "in secret trials or without presenting credible evidence," the embassy noted.

American citizens in Russia who participate in religious activities have had "questionable" criminal investigations opened against them, the U.S. said. The Russian government, meanwhile, has increased detaining and arresting people for criticizing the military and advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, the U.S. said.  

The American government will be "severely limited" in its ability to help Americans in Russia and advised that commercial flights out of the country are extremely limited, the embassy said.

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