The U.S. State Department issued travel advice on Tuesday warning that Moscow “can select and detain U.S. citizens in Russia” and reiterated an early warning that Americans should not travel to the country.
The warning was “due to an unprovoked and unwarranted invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces” as well as potential harassment of U.S. citizens by Russian authorities, the travel adviser said, reiterating calls for Americans traveling or living in Russia to leave “immediately. . “
It comes days after a U.S. diplomat was able to visit detained basketball star Brittney Griner, who has been held in Russian custody for more than a month.
Mr Griner, a two -time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA champion, was arrested at Moscow airport on Feb. 17 on charges of carrying a vape cartridge containing cannabis oil in his luggage.
After his detention, he continued to be placed in a detention center, and last week a Russian court extended his detention until May 19. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
The arrests came as relations between Moscow and the West reached a bottom line in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has led the Western response to the invasion, leveling unprecedented sanctions against Moscow and channeling weapons and aid to Kyiv.
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