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Russian Anti-Drugs Agency Officials Told Not to Visit U.S. Ally Countries

Russia's main anti-drugs agency has recommended that its officers refrain from traveling to the more than 100 countries that have extradition treaties with the United States, the agency's press service said Tuesday.

The countries that have mutual law enforcement agreements with the U.S. include some of the most popular tourist destinations for Russians abroad: Turkey, Egypt, Thailand, Greece, Israel, Britain, Spain, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany and the Czech Republic.

The online tabloid LifeNews reported that staff from several Russian law enforcement agencies were being completely forbidden from traveling to such countries. However, the Federal Drug Control Service's press office told the RIA Novosti state news wire that officers were only being advised against such travel or had to get permission for it from their superiors.

Russia's prison service said that restrictions on travel to specific countries have not been imposed on its officers, while the Federal Migration Service said it had not heard anything about a travel ban, the RIA Novosti state news wire reported.

So far, the U.S. and the European Union have imposed asset and travel sanctions on a number of Russians in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea. Further sanctions are being threatened, however, if Russia fails to fully implement an international agreement struck last week on de-escalating the Ukraine crisis.

Russia's Foreign Ministry warned earlier this month that the U.S. "is attempting to instate a routine practice of hunting for Russian citizens in third countries for the purpose of their subsequent extradition."

The ministry's statement added: "the American administration has groundlessly refused to recognize Crimea's unification with Russia despite it fully complying with international law and the United Nations' Charter."

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