U.S. Department of State Warns Against Travel to Chechnya
The U.S. Department of State has updated its travel alerts list and suggested that their citizens not visit the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria due to ongoing security concerns.
The Mission of the Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) which is a service within the U.S. Department of State and works to protect the lives and interests of American citizens abroad, considers travel to the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the North Caucasus region of Russia to be dangerous; the Department of State recommends U.S. citizens not travel to Chechnya or the rest of the North Caucasus region, including Mount Elbrus.
According to the mission, due to continued civil and political unrest throughout much of the North Caucasus region of Russia, the Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Chechnya and all other areas of the North Caucasus, including North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya, and Kabardino-Balkariya. The U.S. Government’s ability to assist U.S. citizens who travel to the North Caucasus region is extremely limited. Throughout the region, local criminal gangs have kidnapped foreigners, including U.S. citizens, for ransom. U.S. citizens have disappeared in Chechnya and remain missing. Close contacts within the local population does not guarantee safety. There have been several kidnappings of foreigners and Russian citizens working for media and non-governmental organizations in the region. Due to the ongoing security concerns, U.S. Government travel to the region is very limited. U.S. citizens residing in these areas should depart immediately.
Acts of terrorism, including bombings and hostage takings, continue to occur in Russia, particularly in the North Caucasus region. However, in the past several years, Moscow and St. Petersburg have also been the targets of terrorist attacks. In the past, bombings have occurred at Russian government buildings, airports, hotels, tourist sites, markets, entertainment venues, schools, and residential complexes, and on public transportation including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights. Extremist groups occasionally threaten to set off bombs in market areas of major cities that are operated largely by migrant workers.
There is no indication that U.S. institutions or citizens have been targets, but there is a general risk of U.S. citizens becoming victims of indiscriminate terrorist attacks. U.S. citizens in Russia should be aware of their personal surroundings and follow good security practices. U.S. citizens are urged to remain vigilant and exercise good judgment and discretion when using any form of public transportation.
*Text was written by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco