Just out from the State Department, which in the aftermath of the most recent failure by John Kerry to resolve the Ukraine situation, appears to be escalating to populism and engaging the general public. The best part in the warning is the following clarification: “all U.S. citizens located in or considering travel to the border region, specifically the regions bordering Ukraine in Bryansk, Kursk, Belgorod, Voronezh, and Rostov Oblasts and Krasnodar Krai, should be aware of the potential for escalation of tensions, military clashes (either accidental or intentional).” Somehow we have a feeling we may be seeing a spike in “accidental military clashes” over the next week.
From the State Department:
Russian Federation Travel Alert – Events in Ukraine
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens in Russia to the ongoing tensions in Ukraine and the potential for increased public demonstrations and anti-American actions in Russia in connection with Russian actions in the Crimea. The Department of State also alerts U.S. citizens in Russia to the heightened military presence and on-going military exercises of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation along the border region with Ukraine. This Travel Alert expires on June 13, 2014. The Department of State strongly recommends that all U.S. citizens residing or traveling abroad enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to receive pertinent safety and security information.
The U.S. government currently has no information concerning active military conflict inside Russia as a result of regional tensions or of any threat specific to U.S. citizens. However, all U.S. citizens located in or considering travel to the border region, specifically the regions bordering Ukraine in Bryansk, Kursk, Belgorod, Voronezh, and Rostov Oblasts and Krasnodar Krai, should be aware of the potential for escalation of tensions, military clashes (either accidental or intentional), or other violence, and the potential for threats to safety and security. Media accounts note there has been a sizable Russian military build-up in those regions and there are reports of an increased presence of Russian neo-Nazi and radical nationalist and extremist groups in those regions.
U.S. citizens considering travel to Russia should evaluate their personal security situation in light of current political tensions and the possibility of violence or anti-U.S. actions directed against U.S. citizens or U.S. interests.
The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens should avoid all public demonstrations, whether properly authorized by local officials or not, and avoid any large crowds and public gatherings that lack enhanced security measures. Demonstrations related to the conflict may appear anywhere throughout Russia, at any time. These demonstrations may increase the possibility of confrontation and violence. Review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Russia enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment allows you to receive the Department’s safety and security updates, and makes it easier for the nearest U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you do not have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.