On Monday, the U.S. State Department mandated that all U.S. citizens vacate Russia immediately due to the escalating conflict in Ukraine and mounting apprehensions over unwarranted arrests.
"U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Russia should depart immediately," the U.S. embassy in Moscow warned. "Exercise increased caution due to the risk of wrongful detentions."
The department conveyed a stark message, advising individuals to refrain from traveling to Russia.
The embassy cautioned that its capacity to assist U.S. citizens in Russia was significantly restricted owing to workforce limitations, travel constraints, and the suspension of consular services, Fox News reported.
Americans have been cautioned to leave the nation without delay, with a reminder that U.S. debit or credit cards are non-operational in Russia and that electronic money transfers have become progressively challenging due to sanctions.
"Russian security services have arrested U.S. citizens on spurious charges, singled out U.S. 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.
On Monday, the Kremlin disregarded the embassy's advisories and referenced the State Department's previous directives in September, issued right after Russian President Vladimir Putin summoned more Russians to support his efforts in Ukraine.
"[Warnings] have been voiced by the State Department many times in the last period, so this is not a new thing," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said according to Reuters.
On Monday, U.S. experts had contrasting opinions about the warning and when it was issued, with Rebekah Koffler, a former Defense Intelligence Agency intel officer for Russian Doctrine & Strategy, characterizing the notice as "serious."