Website for U.S. Embassy in Russia Goes Down After Cryptic Warning of Terrorist Threat

The error message at the website for the U.S. embassy in Russia on Thursday after issuing a warning about a potential terror attack.

The error message at the website for the U.S. embassy in Russia on Thursday after issuing a warning about a potential terror attack.
Screenshot: U.S. State Department

The U.S. embassy in Russia issued a warning on Thursday that Americans should avoid large gatherings in Moscow for the next 48 hours. The embassy said it was over a potential terrorist threat in the city, but didn’t elaborate beyond mentioning concerts as a potential target. And now the embassy’s website appears to be down.

“The Embassy is monitoring reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts, and U.S. citizens should be advised to avoid large gatherings over the next 48 hours,” the alert reads, which was also made on X by the U.S. State Department.

“As a reminder, our Travel Advisory for Russia is Level 4 – Do Not Travel,” the alert continued.

It’s not immediately clear if the embassy website was down because it was flooded with too many people trying to access the site all at once, given the interest in the warning. But that seems like a logical assumption. The U.S. State Department didn’t immediately respond to questions emailed on Thursday evening.

The Russian government announced early Thursday that it had killed Islamic State militants who were planning a terrorist attack on a Moscow synagogue, according to the English-language Moscow Times. It’s not clear if that operation is related to the U.S. State Department’s warning.

The governments of the U.S. and Russia have had extremely frosty relations in recent years, especially since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. The war has caused hundreds of thousands of casualties on both sides and there’s no end to the bloodshed in sight. The U.S. supports Ukraine with weapons, financial assistance, and intelligence sharing, though American support has waned among Republicans who don’t want to contribute money or guns anymore.

Democrats released an open letter to SpaceX leadership on Thursday about reports that Russia was using the company’s Starlink internet satellite terminals. Sales of the terminals to the Russian military would violate U.S. sanctions imposed after the invasion of Ukraine, though SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has denied the company has knowingly sold terminals to Russia.

Russia’s state news agency TASS reported on Thursday that U.S. exports to Russia totaled just $30 million in January, the lowest since 1992 shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union.