U.S. asks citizens to leave Russia immediately

STORY: State Dept's deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel told a news conference "Our message to American citizens residing in Russia is that the travel advisory warning is a level four and that they should leave."

"Any U.S. citizen residing or traveling in Russia should depart immediately as stated in our latest travel advisory. Those who require assistance in departing Russia should contact the U.S. Embassy in Moscow for assistance."

A Moscow court ruled that U.S. national, and journalist for the Wall Street Journal, Evan Gershkovich should be detained for nearly two months on suspicion of spying.

It is believed to be the first criminal case for espionage against a foreign journalist in post-Soviet Russia, a crime punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment.

State Dept's Patel said "we have seen how the Russian government's escalating repression affects journalists, as well as civil society activists and the broader Russian community. Since February 24th, 2022, dozens of outlets and more than 100 individual media professionals have been labeled as undesirable organizations or foreign agents for doing their jobs."

The case will worsen already dire relations between Moscow and Washington, both nuclear powers.