THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY:
Due to continued civil and political unrest throughout much of the Caucasus region of Russia, the Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Chechnya and all areas of the North Caucasus, including North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya, and Kabardino-Balkariya. The U.S. Government’s ability to assist Americans who travel to the Caucasus region of Russia is extremely limited. Throughout the region, local criminal gangs have kidnapped foreigners, including Americans, for ransom. American citizens have disappeared in Chechnya and remain missing. Close contacts with the local population do not guarantee safety. There have been several kidnappings of foreigners and Russian citizens working for media and non-governmental organizations in the region. Due to the ongoing security concerns, U.S. Government travel to the region is very limited. American citizens residing in these areas should depart immediately.
Acts of terrorism, including bombings and hostage takings, have continued to occur in Russia, particularly in the Caucasus region. In the past, bombings have occurred at Russian government buildings, hotels, tourist sites, markets, entertainment venues, schools, residential complexes, and on public transportation including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights. Extremist groups occasionally threaten to set off bombs in market areas of major cities that are operated largely by migrant workers.
There is no indication that American institutions or citizens have been targets, but there is a general risk of American citizens being victims of indiscriminate terrorist attacks. American citizens in Russia should be aware of their personal surroundings and follow good security practices. Americans are urged to remain vigilant and exercise good judgment and discretion when using any form of public transportation. When traveling, Americans may wish to provide a friend, family member, or coworker a copy of their itinerary. Americans should avoid large crowds and public gatherings that lack enhanced security measures. Travelers should also exercise a high degree of caution and remain alert when patronizing restaurants, casinos, nightclubs, bars, theaters, etc., especially during peak hours of business.
In recent years, Mt. Elbrus has become an increasingly popular destination with adventure travelers wishing to climb the highest mountain in Europe. The security situation in the regions surrounding Mr. Elbrus, however, remains highly unstable. The U.S. Embassy recommends against attempting to climb Mt. Elbrus, as it can only be done by passing close to volatile and insecure areas of the Caucasus region of Russia.
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website , which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, or by calling a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s extensive tips and advice on traveling safely abroad.