Australian travellers in Russia warned about risk of anti-West sentiment

A Russian jet that flew home 46 of the country's diplomats and their family members at the Russian government airport Vnukovo II in Mosow yesterday. Britain, the US and many other Western allies have expelled Russian diplomats over the poisoning of f
A Russian jet that flew home 46 of the country's diplomats and their family members at the Russian government airport Vnukovo II in Mosow yesterday. Britain, the US and many other Western allies have expelled Russian diplomats over the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in England.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SYDNEY • Canberra yesterday warned Australian travellers in Russia of the risk of "anti-Western sentiment or harassment" as the diplomatic fallout builds over a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.

The warning comes less than three months before Australian fans are expected to follow the Socceroos football team to the World Cup in Russia.

Australia last Tuesday joined the United States and other British allies in expelling two Russian diplomats over the poisoning of Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

In response, Moscow last Friday expelled diplomats from 23 countries, including Australia.

"Due to heightened political tensions, you should be aware of the possibility of anti-Western sentiment or harassment," the travel advisory from the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

It cautioned visitors to follow the security and political situation closely, "remain vigilant, avoid any protests or demonstrations and avoid commenting publicly on political developments".

However, the advisory also said the government was not aware of "any increased difficulties for Australians travelling in Russia at this time", and the level of advice had not been upgraded.

TAKE NOTE

Due to heightened political tensions, you should be aware of the possibility of anti-Western sentiment or harassment.

TRAVEL ADVISORY FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS IN AUSTRALIA

The World Cup takes place over June and July in Russia, with Australian fans expected to travel to the country to watch the Socceroos play France, Denmark and Peru in Group C of the football tournament.

Tensions between Moscow and the West are high after Britain said it was "highly likely" that Russia was responsible for the poisoning. Russia has angrily denied any such involvement.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2018, with the headline 'Australian travellers in Russia warned about risk of anti-West sentiment'. Print Edition | Subscribe