US State Department issues “Do Not Travel Advisory” to Russia
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 14, 2023—The U.S. State Department on Monday issued a Level 4: Do Not Travel Advisory for U.S. citizens to leave Russia immediately “due to the unpredictable consequences of the unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces.”
The Advisory warns of the risk of wrongful detention by Russian government security officials and the compulsory enlisting of dual citizens into the Russian armed services.
“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,” the advisory states.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced today, just prior to his meeting with Defense Ministers in Brussels, that Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for “new offensives” against Ukraine.
“We see no signs that President Putin is preparing for peace,” Stoltenberg said. “What we see is the opposite, he is preparing for more war, for new offensives and new attacks.”
He stressed the importance of NATO Allies to provide more support to Ukraine.
“The urgent need now is to deliver what has always been promised, to deliver the armored vehicles, the infantry fighting vehicles, the German Marders, the US Bradleys, and of course, also, the main battle tanks, the Leopards, and the other battle tanks that have been pledged,” Stoltenberg said.
The Atlantic Council recently reported that Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov shared that Russia has amassed up to 500,000 troops along Ukraine’s borders for what he calls a new offensive before the February 24 one-year mark of the Russian “special military operation.”
On the morning of February 24, 2022, Russian President Putin announced a “special military operation” seeking the alleged “demilitarization” and “denazification” of Ukraine. Explosions were reported in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and the Donbas region shortly after the announcement.
The United Nations General Assembly passed ES-11/1 on March 2, 2022, condemning the military operation by Russian forces. International sanctions and a humanitarian crisis soon followed.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), approximately 8 million Ukrainians have fled Ukraine into neighboring European countries as of February 2023, with Snohomish County providing a refuge to hundreds escaping the war.
Monday’s travel advisory warns U.S. citizens in Russia that because “routine or emergency services to U.S. citizens in Russia is severely limited” they should make “independent arrangements as soon as possible” to depart.
The recent travel advisory for U.S. citizens to leave Russia immediately also comes five days after Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. reporter, Seymour Hersh, claimed on his Substack account, that U.S. President Joe Biden ordered a joint CIA and U.S. Navy operation to plant explosives that destroyed the Nord Stream gas pipelines on September 26, 2022— which if true, would be an act of war. The report also alleges that the Norwegian Air Force dropped a buoy three months after the explosives were planted, and with “a sophisticated sonar signal,” ignited the explosives.
The apparent sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines last year added to Europe’s increasing energy crisis as it headed into winter.
Forbes reported at the time of the explosion that former Polish Defense Minister, Radek Sikorski, blames the United States for sabotaging the two pipelines. Back in February during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, President Joe Biden told reporters, “If Russia invades, that means tanks or troops crossing the border of Ukraine again, then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”
When asked how, the president says with a smirk, “I promise you, we will be able do that.”
Last Thursday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters, “Our assumption was that the US and several NATO allies were involved in this disgusting crime,” Bloomberg reports and the Financial Times reported that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called for “an open international investigation” and for those responsible to be punished.
Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council called Hersh’s investigative report “utterly false and complete fiction,” the Financial Times reported last Wednesday.
Immediately after the explosion of Nord Stream, separate investigations were launched by Denmark, Germany, and Sweden. The Swedish Security Service announced they have found evidence of “gross sabotage,” according to the Maritime Executive.
“In the crime scene investigations carried out on site in the Baltic Sea, the extensive damage to the gas pipelines resulting from detonations has been thoroughly documented. Several seizures have been made, including foreign items,” the Swedish Security Service wrote in its November 18, 2022, statement.
Both Sweden and Denmark have concluded that the pipelines were sabotaged but have not announced who might be responsible.