Russia might force U.S. citizens living in the country to fight for them in Ukraine, the U.S. embassy in Moscow warned on Sunday, telling its citizens to leave Russia “immediately.”
“U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Russia should depart immediately,” the embassy said in a statement. “Exercise increased caution due to the risk of wrongful detentions.”
“Do not travel to Russia,” it said, warning that U.S. citizens could be forcibly enlisted into the Russian army.
The U.S. embassy in Moscow noted that in September 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin mobilized citizens to the armed forces in support of its invasion of Ukraine.
“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,” it said.
Putin’s “partial mobilization” decree on September 21 purportedly affected up to 300,000 reservists and ex-military personnel with “certain military specialties and relevant experience.”
However, the figure in Putin’s decree wasn’t disclosed to the public, prompting many to speculate that the real number could be much higher.
The Kremlin said on October 31 that the partial mobilization had ended, but Ukrainian officials have warned that Russia is preparing a massive mobilization effort to mark the first anniversary of the war on February 24.
The embassy said Russian security services have arrested U.S. citizens on “spurious charges,” have 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.”
“Russian authorities arbitrarily enforce local laws against U.S. citizen religious workers, and have opened questionable criminal investigations against U.S. citizens engaged in religious activity.”
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told French media outlet BFMTV on February 1 that Kyiv officials think that “given that they [Russians] live in symbolism, they will try to try something around February 24.”
“We can’t lose the initiative,” he said, warning that he believes Russia could deploy a huge number of mobilized troops.
Reznikov referred to Putin’s “partial mobilization” of what the latter said would be up to 300,000 soldiers in September 2022. The minister suggested the number could be closer to 500,000.
“We do not underestimate our enemy,” Reznikov said. “Officially, they announced 300,000, but when we see the troops at the borders, according to our assessments it is much more.”
The Kremlin has pushed back against claims it is preparing for a new wave of mobilization.
Newsweek has contacted Russia’s foreign ministry for comment.
I think this is the main reason for the US embassy and the US State Dept. to urge US citizens to leave Putinville asap. They were idiots to go in the first place but leaving will probably save their lives.
I really couldn’t bring myself to feel sorry for anyone who is still in mafia land, and who gets used and abused there.