The Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Moscow on Friday urged Cypriots to avoid crowded areas, citing security concerns.

This advisory comes amidst reports of potential terrorist attacks targeting mass gatherings in Moscow.

Celebrations for International Women’s Day across Russia further heighten security measures, with embassies of several Western countries issuing similar warnings to their citizens.

The United States Embassy in Moscow has advised American citizens to steer clear of crowded areas for the next 48 hours, citing reports that extremists have imminent plans for an attack in Moscow. Similarly, the British Embassy strongly recommends British citizens, whose presence in Russia is non-essential, to consider leaving the country and avoid all travel throughout Russia.

The day before, the German Embassy in Russia issued a similar instruction warning its citizens that there is a strong possibility of their arrest by the Russian authorities.

Numerous Western nations discourage travel to Russia and recommend that their citizens depart. The United States has issued the most severe warning level for Russia, denoted by a red “4 – Do not travel” advisory, placing it on par with countries like Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, and Iran.

These warnings align with escalating diplomatic tensions between Moscow and Western nations, with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs warning against any attempts by the United States to interfere in its internal affairs, threatening strict measures, including expulsion of diplomats deemed undesirable.

In a commentary, the specialist publication ‘Voyennoe Obozrenie’ (translating as ‘Military Review’) pointed out that ‘the Americans did not name the origin of the potential terrorists, limiting themselves to the mildest possible wording “extremists”‘, claiming that “the informing of Western embassies about prepared terrorist attacks can be explained by the fact that apparently the attacks are being prepared by the Ukrainian Central Intelligence Directorate. The Ukrainian Central Intelligence Service, which is fully run by the secret services of these countries and is known for its dedication to carrying out terrorist attacks on the territory of the Russian Federation.

Margarita Simonyan, director of the Russian TV network Russia Today, spoke of a coordinated reaction by the US and British embassies, noting that “if one of the Western countries has certain information, then it must pass it on through the secret services. I hope that you have done so, because if not, it is complicity”.

In the context of the escalating diplomatic confrontation between Moscow and many Western countries, the Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday invited the US Ambassador to Moscow, Lynn Tracy, to its headquarters, where she was told that “any attempts by the US to interfere in the internal affairs of our country will be severely obstructed up to and including the expulsion from the country of the diplomats involved in these efforts with the status of persona non grata”.

The US Ambassador was also told that the activity of three American non-governmental organisations in Russia was deemed undesirable and the US diplomatic authority was asked to cease all cooperation with them on the territory of Russia.