US Embassy warns Americans to avoid crowds in Russian cities

The U.S. Embassy in Russia is warning Americans to avoid crowds in Moscow and other major urban areas because of “threats of attacks” amid heightened concerns of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In a security alert on Sunday, officials urged Americans in Russia to avoid crowds, be aware of their surroundings, stay alert in popular tourist areas and “have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance.” 

The alert, citing “media sources,” said “there have been threats of attacks against shopping centers, railway and metro stations, and other public gathering places in major urban areas, including Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as in areas of heightened tension along the Russian border with Ukraine.”

The embassy issued the alert two days after President Biden said he was “convinced” Russian President Vladimir Putin had “made the decision” to invade Ukraine. That announcement was reportedly based on U.S. intelligence that said the Kremlin had ordered Russian military units to move forward with an invasion.

Moscow, however, has denied having any plans to invade, despite amassing more than 150,000 troops across the Ukrainian border.

Hundreds of artillery shells exploded on the line between Ukrainian soldiers and Russia-backed separatists on Sunday, increasing fears that Russia could launch an invasion, according to The Associated Press.

The State Department announced earlier this month that the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv had been evacuated amid reports regarding a Russian invasion.

Additionally, Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week said the U.S. was closing its embassy in Kyiv and moving operations to Lviv.

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Kristina Kvien on Sunday warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be “disastrous,” claiming that both sides would see a large number of casualties.

“Disastrous for Ukraine, of course, with the potential for thousands of casualties, but also disastrous for Russia, not only because Ukraine will fight and Russia will face casualties too, but also because Russia will face devastating sanctions by the United States and other partners and allies if they take this path,” she said.

Tags Antony Blinken Joe Biden Vladimir Putin
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