The US Embassy in Moscow has released a warning for the Americans on Sunday of potential attacks in public places in Russia, including along the border with Ukraine, where the Kremlin has deployed troops in advance of a feared invasion.
According to sources, there have been continuous threats of attacks against shopping centres, railways and metro stations and other public gatherings in major urban areas,” the embassy said in a statement.
According to the statement released by the embassy, “There was a high risk of attacks in Moscow and Saint Petersburg along with the areas of heightened tensions near to the Russian border with Ukraine.”
Western nations have been continuously warning for weeks that Moscow could be planning for an attack on its ex-Soviet neighbour, blaming Russia for building up a force of thousands of troops.
The embassy, in its statement, asked Americans in Russia to avoid crowds and have evacuation plans that do not depend on US government assistance.
Meanwhile, the spokeswoman of the Foreign Ministry of Russia, Maria Zakharova, criticized the move on social media, asking whether the US side has followed any protocol with the announcement and asking: “What are we to make of this?”
At the same time, local authorities around Russia’s border with Ukraine in recent days have announced a state of emergency as evacuees cross into the country from rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine.
On Sunday, the emergencies ministry has released that more than 50,000 people had entered Russia since separatists leaders in two breakaway republics told women and children to go to Russia Friday while claiming an increase in tensions.
Ukraine has been battling pro-Moscow separatists since 2014, when Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula in the wake of massive streets protest. Over 14,000 people have since died in the fight.