White House warns Americans to not travel to Russia: advises those in Russia to leave immediately

The warning followed the recent arrest of the Wall Street Journal reporter in Yekaterinburg.

The White House on Thursday expressed deep concern about the arrest of The Wall Street Journal reporter in Russia and asked the rest of Americans to avoid traveling to the country.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby expressed the government's condemnation of Russia's attacks and repression against journalists and U.S. citizens. "The Russian government's targeting of U.S. citizens is completely unacceptable," he said.

Kirby also told U.S. citizens to heed the warning not to travel to Russia and advised those there or living in the country to leave immediately.

"Americans should please heed the U.S. government’s warning not to travel to Russia. U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Russia should depart right away as the State Department continues to advise," he added.

The spokesman commented that communications are being maintained with the family and employer of journalist Evan Gershkovich and stressed that the U.S. embassy in Moscow is seeking consular access to the detainee.

For his part, Vedant Patel, spokesman for the State Department, explained at a press conference that it is likely to take several days before the consulate can offer its services to the journalist. Although he clarified that they are not able to foresee what actions his department may take.

Patel was questioned about whether the reporter could be used by Russia to get a prisoner exchange. However, the spokesman refused to speculate on the matter and assured that they are working "24 hours a day" to resolve the issue.


Evan Gershkovich was detained Thursday in Yekaterinburg by Russian security forces accusing him of being a spy for the Biden administration.

"What the employee of The Wall Street Journal was doing in Ekaterinburg has nothing to do with journalism," said Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, and said that this is not the first time that a journalist has been sent to "conceal activities" unrelated to journalism.

"He was acting on instructions from the American side to collect information about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex that constitutes a state secret," Russia's Federal Security Service asserted.