The United States of America and the United Kingdom have warned their citizens against travelling to Russia where the FIFA 2018 World Cup is ongoing, even as America placed the host country’s terrorism threat alert at “level 3”.
The United States, US, and the United Kingdom, UK, published this latest information on Friday and Saturday respectively.
The US Department of State, in its travel advisory, told citizens, “Do not travel to the north Caucasus, including Chechnya and Mount Elbrus, due to civil unrest and terrorism; Crimea due to foreign occupation and abuses by occupying authorities. Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Russia. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Bomb threats against public venues are common.”
Similarly, the UK through its Foreign and Commonwealth Office, FCO, advised against all travel to Chechnya, Dagestan, and the districts of Budyonnvsky, Levokumsky, among others.
According to the advisory, “The 2018 FIFA World Cup is taking place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July. The FCO has put together some top travel and safety tips to help fans travelling to Russia for the tournament. The Football Supporters’ Federation has also published a guide to the tournament and what you can expect while in Russia. This includes detailed sections on each of the host cities. Due to heightened political tensions between the UK and Russia, you should be aware of the possibility of anti-British sentiment or harassment at this time.”
Noting that although large-scale international events, such as the World Cup, would present an “attractive target for terrorists” and security for the World Cup would be extensive, US warned, “Terrorists may seek to attack event locations such as stadiums and Fan Fest viewing areas, tourist sites, transportation hubs, and other public venues.”
On its part, the UK added that since 2017 Russian security forces had disrupted several plots in major Russian cities, including Moscow, St Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, and Stavropol.
“These plots are reported to have targeted public transport and crowded places. Terrorist groups, including Daesh and al-Qaeda aligned groups, continue to call for attacks in Russia,” the FCO noted.
According to the state department, US citizens are often victims of harassment, mistreatment, and extortion by law-enforcement and other officials.
“US consular assistance to detained individuals is often unreasonably delayed by Russian officials. Russia also enforces special restrictions on dual US-Russian nationals. Due to the Russian government-imposed reduction on US diplomatic personnel in Russia, the US government has reduced ability to provide services to US citizens,” it said.