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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Friday, May 25, 2018

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Russia tells citizens: Avoid U.S. travel, we’re being hunted

Foreign ministry has issued a travel warning

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MOSCOW, Russia - As ties between the U.S. and Russia continue to worsen, now the Russian Foreign Ministry has warned its citizens against traveling to the U.S.

The country’s foreign ministry has issued a travel warning that says that U.S. intelligence services are on a "hunt" to detain Russian citizens traveling abroad.

In its statement, the foreign ministry said the advice had been issued "in connection with the threat of being detained or arrested at the request of US law enforcement and intelligence services in third countries."

The statement further added, “Despite our calls to improve cooperation between the relevant US and Russian authorities... U.S. special services have effectively continued 'a hunt' for Russians around the world. Considering these circumstances, we strongly insist that Russian citizens carefully weigh up all the risks when planning trips abroad.”

For several months now, Moscow and Washington have been engaged in a protracted diplomatic tit-for-tat amid allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. 

Later in 2016, the Obama administration ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S.

The following year, in 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin hit back at American sanctions and in a tit-for-tat reaction, he ordered the U.S. to cut staff at its diplomatic mission by several hundred personnel.

Meanwhile, Russia’s statement on Friday stated that over ten Russians have been detained in foreign countries at Washington's request since the beginning of 2017. 

According to the country’s officials, the most high-profile Russian in American custody is a  convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was arrested in 2008 in Thailand and was extradited to the U.S.

The Russia foreign ministry added in its statement, "After extradition to the United States, Russian citizens face a prejudiced attitude on the part of American 'justice,'" describing Bout as a "Russian businessman."

Earlier this month, on January 10, the U.S. too issued its own travel warnings on Russia, with the State Department saying in a travel advisory that Americans should reconsider travel to Russia because of the threat of "terrorism and harassment."

 

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