Advocacy Alert: U.S. State Department Briefing on Russia

March 7, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

 Please see the note below shared by USA Study Abroad in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

 In addition to the important information contained in this alert, I invite you to join a webinar on Thursday, March 10th from noon – 1:00pm ET offered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, with support from USA Study Abroad. Please register here.  Abigail Rupp, Senior Advisor from the Bureau of Consular Affairs, will brief and take questions on the State Department’s advice to U.S. citizens in Russia, including their recommendation that all U.S. citizens depart immediately and how to avail themselves of current commercial options to leave.  Ms. Rupp will cover information in the State Department’s recently reissued travel advisory for Russia as well as the latest advice from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow regarding departure options, challenges with using U.S. credit cards, and advice for U.S. citizens to avoid protests.  She will also address the process for arriving at these recommendations, what the State Department can and cannot do in a crisis, as well as how Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine is affecting U.S. citizens in Europe more broadly.

Abigail (Abby) Rupp joined the State Department’s Foreign Service in 1997.  A consular-coned officer, she has served overseas in Romania, Moldova, Ghana, Russia, Ethiopia, and Italy, and in Washington in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, the Foreign Service Institute, and the Office of the Deputy Secretary of State. Most recently, she was the Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs in Moscow, Russia.

Please click here to register for this free webinar, which is open to all members of the U.S. higher education community. Only the first 500 registrants will be admitted to the live event. In order to accommodate as many people as possible, please only register if you are committed to attending the session live. A recording of the webinar will be made available to the general public via The Forum’s website (

Best regards,

Melissa Torres



Dear colleagues,

The State Department has no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas, including those who are studying abroad, and we are deeply concerned by how Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine will affect U.S. citizens in the region.  We kindly ask your help in passing on the following message to any of students or scholars from your institution currently in Russia:

The State Department issues travel advisories and security alerts to U.S. citizens to inform them of the latest health and security risks in order to make informed decisions regarding travel plans.  On March 5, the State Department reissued our Travel Advisory for Russia, already at a Level 4 – Do Not Travel, to include updated information regarding the security situation and staffing at the U.S. Embassy.

As the Travel Advisory states, we advise U.S. citizens not to travel to Russia due to the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine, the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials, the embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19 and related entry restrictions, terrorism, limited flights into and out of Russia, and the arbitrary enforcement of local law.  U.S. citizens should depart Russia immediately.

We encourage any American students in Russia to do the following:

  • Read the State Department’s Travel Advisory for Russia
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important information from the U.S. Embassy about security and safety conditions and options for leaving Russia.  It will also help the Embassy contact you in an emergency. Once enrolled, you will automatically receive alerts and messages via email when they are issued by the U.S. Embassy.
  • Follow the U.S. Embassy on Twitter or Facebook.
  • Follow the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.

If your institution is interested in a more in-depth briefing on these issues, please contact Stephanie Newman in the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs at