Russia’s Foreign Ministry has issued a travel warning to its citizens traveling abroad, saying the United States in on the hunt for Russian travelers around the globe to have them arrested and extradited to the country.
In a statement released on Thursday, the ministry informed Russian travelers that they faced a serious threat of detention by third countries at the request of Washington with the likelihood of subsequent extradition to the US.
“Despite our calls to improve cooperation between the relevant US and Russian authorities… US special services have effectively continued ‘hunting’ for Russians around the world,” said the travel warning.
“Considering these circumstances,” it added, “we strongly insist that Russian citizens carefully weigh up all the risks when planning trips abroad.”
The statement mentioned at least four cases in which Russians had been taken into custody on US cyber crime charges in Spain, Latvia, and Greece amid reports that US measures against Russians suspected of cyber offenses climbed to a record high in the past year.
It also underlined that more than 10 Russians had been arrested in foreign countries with US intervention since the start of 2017.
The ministry further highlighted the case of Stanislav Lisov — accused of generating a computer virus that targeted customers of financial institutions and allegedly inflicting millions of dollars worth of damage — who was extradited from Spain to the US last year.
It also pointed to earlier such cases, including the arrest of Roman Seleznev for an alleged cyber offense in the Maldives in 2014, which the ministry referred to as a kidnapping by US elements.
The statement further cautioned Russian travelers that once extradited to the US, they would face partial treatment by the American justice system.
Seven Russians were arrested or indicted in the US and abroad in 2017, compared to an average of two a year in the preceding six years.
The US State Department has reportedly declined to react to the Russian travel warning.