US citizens should leave Russia now, embassy says as Putin's conscription drive continues

Russia could 'conscript dual citizens for military service', embassy says

A queue of traffic waiting to leave Russia at the border with Georgia this week. Photo: AFP
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US citizens living in Russia should leave the country while they still can, the American embassy in Moscow said on Wednesday, warning that dual US-Russian citizens could be conscripted to fight under orders from President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Putin is trying to mobilise 300,000 conscripts to fight in Ukraine after regular units sustained heavy losses in the seven months since Russia invaded its neighbour.

After the invasion, the US State Department issued a "do not travel" advisory for Russia, but Wednesday's warning heaps renewed urgency on US citizens who are still in the country.

"US citizens should not travel to Russia and those residing or travelling in Russia should depart Russia immediately while limited commercial travel options remain," the US embassy said in its advisory.

“Russia may refuse to acknowledge dual nationals’ US citizenship, deny their access to US consular assistance, prevent their departure from Russia, and conscript dual nationals for military service."

The embassy also said that it is getting harder to leave Russia and the US capacity to help citizens wishing to depart is constrained.

“Commercial flight options are extremely limited at present and are often unavailable on short notice. Overland routes by car and bus are still open. If you wish to depart Russia, you should make independent arrangements as soon as possible,” the US embassy said.

Mr Putin's mobilisation announcement last week prompted sent Russians scrambling to flee to neighbouring countries.

Kazakhstan on Tuesday said it had received 98,000 Russian citizens and pledged to ensure their safety.

The US government also expressed fears that Mr Putin may resort to nuclear weapons as his forces struggle to make advances in Ukraine.

Politico reported on Tuesday that Washington and its allies are stepping up intelligence efforts to detect any Russian military moves or communications that might signal that the Kremlin has ordered the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

Updated: September 28, 2022, 1:48 PM
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