Mar 30, 2022 - World
U.S. warns Moscow may be targeting Americans for detention in Russia
The State Department warned "Russian government security officials may single out and detain U.S. citizens" in Russia and Ukraine, per fresh advisories against Americans traveling to the countries on Tuesday.
Driving the news: Americans in Russia face being harassed by Russian security officials, as well as "detention, the arbitrary enforcement of local law," according to the travel warning.
- In Ukraine, there are "continued reports of U.S. citizens being singled out and detained by the Russian military in Ukraine and when evacuating by land through Russia-occupied territory or to Russia or Belarus," the State Department notes.
The big picture: The warnings come days after a U.S. diplomat was finally allowed to visit detained American basketball star Brittney Griner after repeatedly being denied by Russian authorities.
- The double Olympic gold medalist has been in detention since Feb. 17, after Russian authorities accused her of having vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage at an airport near Moscow.
- On the day of her arrest, Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned in a speech to the U.N. Security Council that the U.S. believed Russia's military would invade Ukraine within days. One week later, the invasion began.
Go deeper: The latest on the Russia-Ukraine crisis