The US Embassy in Russia warned of “threats of attacks” at public places in major urban areas including Moscow, St. Petersburg as well as in areas of heightened tension along the Russian border with Ukraine and also urged American citizens staying in the country to have “evacuation plans.”
“According to media sources, there have been threats of attacks against shopping centres, 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,” said the US Embassy in Russia said in its security alert. U.S. Embassy Moscow Spokesperson Jason P. Rebholz tweeted “Important security alert from the U.S. Mission to Russia” and shared the press release on his official Twitter handle.
The Embassy requested the citizens to monitor local and international media for updates and to avoid crowds.
“Avoid crowds. Notify friends and family of your safety. Be aware of your surroundings. Stay alert in locations frequented by tourists/Westerners. Review your personal security plans,” it said. The embassy also urged Americans to carry proper identification, including a U.S. passport with a current Russian visa and “have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance”.
This came amid tensions between Russia and Ukraine due to Moscow’s build-up of around 150,000 troops just over the border from the Donbas region in the east, in Belarus to the north and Crimea to the south, which began in the autumn. Russia claims the surge of forces has always been for military exercises and that it poses no threat to Ukraine or any other nation, but has refused to offer any other explanation for the biggest build-up of military might in Europe since the Cold War.