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Americans traveling to Russia warned they could be drafted to fight war against Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his address to the nation at the Kremlin in Moscow on Feb. 21, 2022. (ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

Americans in Russia or planning to travel there may be drafted into the army, the U.S. Embassy in Russia warned Monday.

The Kremlin could subject American citizens with dual Russian citizenship to “mobilization” or “prevent their departure from Russia and/or conscript them,” according to the new travel advisory.

The warning blames the “unpredictable consequences” of Russia’s “full-scale invasion” of Ukraine that started nearly a year ago and continues to escalate.

Russia’s been flustered by the U.S. and its allies, who continue to fund Ukraine’s defense. A spending bill passed by Congress in December provides $50 billion in aide.

U.S. citizens in Russia are at risk of being targeted for harassment, detained and “arbitrary enforcement of local law,” according to the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Russia.

“If you wish to depart Russia, you should make independent arrangements as soon as possible,” the advisory urged.

Americans in Russia, officials said, could find their credit and debit cards no longer work. There are also reports of cash shortages.

Transportation could “suddenly” be harder to procure, warns the embassy, which itself faces “severe limitations” in helping Americans depart.

Foreign and domestic terrorist organizations are believed to pose a threat to Americans, too.

“Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs and systems, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas,” the advisory stated.

The embassy claims Russia’s security services have “arrested U.S. citizens on spurious charges” and advises against participation in protests. Monday’s warning extended to individuals doing volunteer work or representing religious organizations.

The struggling Russian military appeared to be making gains in its six-month effort to capture the eastern city of Bakhmut, the BBC reported Monday.


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