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Foreign Ministry warns Russians about threat of prosecution by US authorities

According to the diplomats, the danger exists both in the US and in third countries acting on the US request

MOSCOW, February 17. /TASS/. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has warned Russian nationals planning foreign trips about a threat of being prosecuted by the United States.

"Once again, we would like to draw attention of Russian nationals planning foreign trips to a threat of being prosecuted by US law enforcement and special services. Such a threat exists both in the United States and in third countries at the request of US authorities," the ministry said on Monday.

"We have to state that despite our repeated calls for normalization of relations under the 1999 Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters US law enforcement agencies continue to arrest Russians across the globe. As many as 53 such cases have been reported from third countries since 2008. Six of them took place in 2019," the ministry noted.

The ministry cited Viktor Bout’s, Maria Butina’s, Roman Seleznyov’s and Konstantin Yaroshenko’s cases as an example. "An illustrative example is Bogdana Osipova’s case. She was charged in the United States with the abduction of her own children and her alimony claims to the former American husband, who had been practicing domestic abuse, were described as extortion," the ministry noted. "They [Russian nationals] are exposed to serious psychological pressure and are placed in intolerable incarceration conditions to make them confess to fabricated cases. In case they refuse to admit their guilt, they are demonstratively sentenced to long prison terms."

"The situation is complicated by the fact that after the closure of Russian general consulates in San Francisco and Seattle by the US authorities in 2017-2018 our country has no consular presence along the entire US West Coast. It has seriously impaired our capacity to offer timely support to Russians kept in prisons there," the ministry noted, stressing that Russian diplomats are doing their utmost to help Russian citizens, ensure their legal rights and bring them back home as soon as possible.

"We would like to ask our nationals to thoroughly consider all possible risks of being prosecuted by the American side while planning foreign trips," the ministry stressed.

The ministry issued similar warnings in September 2013, April 2014, May 2015, April 2016, February 2017, February 2018, and January 2019.