Vladimir Putin is in it to win it. “It” meaning his war on Ukraine, although victory isn’t coming quickly for him and possibly not at all. To add several insults to Russian injury, he’s been ditched by North Korea and is also apparently very upset about “crab” being a nickname for him as bestowed by Russian citizens. Not only that, but Putin is seeing his alleged girlfriend and a rumored lover be sanctioned by the U.S.
What next? Only an ominous warning from the U.S. for all of its citizens to immediately leave Russia. This isn’t the most surprising development, given that WNBA player Britney Griner went through hell and back before Russia finally admitted that the athlete was “wrongfully detained.” The newest warning (from the U.S. embassy in Moscow) has been relayed by Reuters:
“U.S. citizens residing or travelling in Russia should depart immediately. Do not travel to Russia. 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 embassy further goes on to condemn Russian officials’ tendency to “arbitrarily enforce local laws” as they see fit against U.S. workers in Russia. Whereas the Kremlin is declaring that this is nothing new from the U.S. “[T]his is not a new thing,” responded Dmitry Peskov on behalf of the Kremlin. And he’s correct, yes. The U.S. State Department issued a similar warning in October after Putin began drafting his own citizens by the hundreds of thousands. At the time, the U.S. pointed out that they could not “provide routine or emergency services to U.S. citizens in Russia” except on a severely limited” basis.
The newest warning is a re-up, but perhaps recent intelligence led to amplified guidelines. In the meantime, The New York Times reports that the Kremlin is irked about Putin continuing to use the Wagner mercenary army to wage war. Lots of headaches over there.
(Via Reuters & New York Times)