Ukraine update: US tells American citizens in Russia to ‘depart immediately’

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


The U.S. State Department on Monday issued a top-level advisory urging American citizens in Russia to “depart immediately.” The Level 4 warning, which is the highest travel alert issued by the U.S. government, cites potential “unpredicted consequences” of increased fighting and the heightened potential for wrongful detention and terrorism. The advisory also warned that the American Embassy has a “limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia.”

The alert stated that Americans “have been interrogated without cause and threatened by Russian officials” and that Moscow’s security services are increasingly targeting “foreign and international organizations they consider ‘undesirable'” with “arbitrary enforcement of local laws.”

“Russian security services have arrested U.S. citizens on spurious charges, singled out U.S. citizens in Russia for detention and harassment, denied them fair and transparent treatment, and convicted them in secret trials or without presenting credible evidence,” the State Department said, adding that U.S. religious workers and LGBTQ advocates have become prime targets for “questionable criminal investigations” under new legislation expanding the authority of Russian officials “to detain, question, and arrest individuals suspected of acting against Russia’s interests.

The State Department said that the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv has been providing consular services to American citizens in Crimea and in partially occupied Ukrainian oblasts in Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhya, but that “the ongoing conflict severely restricts the Embassy’s ability to provide services in these areas.”


Britain’s Defense Ministry reported on Tuesday that Russia’s Wagner group forces have “almost certainly” made incremental gains in the northern outskirts of Bakhmut in the Donbas region over the past three days but that Ukrainian forces continue to defend the area. 

The daily assessment also noted that Moscow’s forces have “likely made little progress” in efforts to advance in the town’s south. 

The Ministry said that Russian troops have been engaging in “continuous offensive efforts” in the Kremina-Svatove sector of Luhansk Oblast in the north, but that “each local attack remains on too small a scale to achieve a significant breakthrough.

“Overall, the current operational picture suggests that Russian forces are being given orders to advance in most sectors, but they have not massed sufficient offensive combat power on any one axis to achieve a decisive effect,” the assessment concluded.

Luhansk regional Gov. Serhiy Haidai said Russia’s new army recruits, “are literally cannon fodder,” referring to them as “prisoners,” since many are believed to be released convicts.

“They march sometimes just at full strength, sometimes through minefields. Those who are on the offensive, no one needs them at all, no one counts them,” Haidai said, per Reuters.


Elsewhere, Russia’s army shelled Ukrainian positions along the frontlines in the eastern Donetsk region on Tuesday as NATO allies gathered in Brussels for continued talks on stepping up weapons supplies to Kyiv.

Repeated calls by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for fighter jets will likely be a key topic of discussion. However, allies are reportedly focused on more pressing concerns, including how to maintain the steady supply of ammunition to Ukraine without depleting their own stockpiles, according to The Associated Press.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that finding ammunition and air defenses is “much more important at the moment than the discussion about fighter jets,” which he pointed out requires months of training, echoing remarks from the U.S. and the U.K.

Ukraine’s allies and partners “should focus on what is now at center stage, particularly in view of a Russian offensive that is apparently taking place,” Pistorious continued.

He said Germany recently signed a deal to produce ammunition for self-propelled, anti-aircraft guns it provided to Ukraine because Kyiv has had difficulty in acquiring munitions elsewhere.


NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday urged Ukraine’s Western allies to step up their military support for Ukraine.

Asked when he expects Russia’s anticipated spring offensive to begin, Stoltenberg said that “the reality is that we have seen the start already.”

“For me, this just highlights the importance of timing. It’s urgent to provide Ukraine with more weapons,” he told reporters in Brussels.

Stoltenburg said that NATO plans to increase its munitions stockpiles following a recent survey of remaining stocks.