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U.S. Embassy in Moscow advises Americans in Russia to consider leaving 'immediately'

With airlines canceling their flights into and out of Russia, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on Sunday said Americans should consider departing the country "immediately," or risk being unable to leave.

In a security bulletin, the embassy stated that because flights are being canceled and several countries have closed their airspace to Russian airlines, Americans in Russia should try to leave the country "immediately via commercial options still available."

In January, the U.S. State Department issued a "Level 4: Do Not Travel" advisory for Russia, due to the buildup of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine. With the Russian invasion of Ukraine starting on Thursday, the State Department on Friday issued a security alert telling Americans to avoid the areas of Russia along the border with Ukraine and "have a contingency plan that does not rely on U.S. government assistance."

Before the invasion, Americans were encouraged to leave Ukraine as well, and the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs tweeted on Sunday that those now trying to escape should "consider routes and risk" when deciding how to get out. "Many Polish land border crossings and main Moldovan crossings have long waits," the agency said. "We recommend Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia border crossings. Waits may be hours."