US Embassy in Russia urges Americans to leave ‘immediately’

By Mike Brest, Defense Reporter |

People carrying luggage walked past vehicles with Russian license plates on the Russian side of the border with Georgia.-/Photographer: -/AFP

The U.S. Embassy in Russia is urging Americans or dual nationals to leave the country “immediately” in light of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military call-up of reserve forces.

Russia “may refuse to acknowledge dual nationals’ U.S. citizenship, deny their access to U.S. consular assistance, prevent their departure from Russia, and conscript dual nationals for military service,” the embassy warned in a release on Tuesday.

Commercial flight options are “extremely limited at the present,” it added, which coincides with a surge of interest following Putin’s announcement of the 300,000 reservists called up last week. Routes by buses and cars are still available. The embassy has “severe limitations” on its resources to help those who want to leave, so they “should make independent arrangements as soon as possible.”

Following Putin’s speech, in which he once again threatened to use nuclear weapons, protests broke out in Russian cities resulting in a police crackdown and roughly 2,400 arrests, according to OVD-Info, an independent watchdog that monitors police activity in Russia.

The embassy issued a stark warning that the right to assemble peacefully and freedom of expression “are not guaranteed in Russia” and that Americans should “avoid all political or social protests.”

Putin’s decision to call up the reservists underscores the severe depletion of manpower the Russian military has faced during the seven months of war.

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