WASHINGTON DC – The United States Department of State said in a press release on Friday that it was warning its citizens to reconsider travel to Russia because of threats of terrorism and harassment.
“Reconsider travel to Russia due to terrorism and harassment. Some areas have increased risk,” the report said in the statement .
The US government warned its citizens that it should avoid some Russian regions, such as the northern Caucasus – “including Chechnya and Mount Elbrus due to civil unrest and terrorism” – and to Crimea “because of foreign occupation and abuses by authorities of the occupation.”
“Terrorist groups continue to plan for possible attacks in Russia, and terrorists can attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist sites, transportation centers, markets/shopping malls and local government facilities,” the statement read.
However, it has historically and in recent years been the US and it’s gulf monarchy allies, like the KSA, that have funded, organized, and financed Salafist and Mujahideen terrorist and insurgent-type outfits in Russian and former Soviet regions.
The US State Department also noted that “major international events such as the World Cup are an attractive target for terrorists,” and “while security for the World Cup is extensive, terrorists may try to attack locations of events such as stadiums and observation areas of the Fan Fest, tourist sites, transportation centers and other public places.”
There are also criticisms of the way the Russian authorities treat US citizens, according to the State Department’s position.
“US citizens are often victims of harassment, ill-treatment and extortion by law enforcement officials and other officials.” US consular assistance to detainees is often unfairly delayed by Russian officials, and Russia also imposes special restrictions on two Russian nationals. Due to the reduction imposed by the Russian government on US diplomatic personnel in Russia, the US government has reduced its ability to provide services to US citizens,” it added.
In reality, US tourist travel to Russia increased by 25% in 2017 alone, and has grown steadily since 2014.
Meanwhile, the US government has issued guidelines to Americans who decide to move to Russia in the coming weeks, saying it is advisable to avoid demonstrations, to be alert in places frequented by Westerners, to keep documents handy, and to be prepared for emergencies.