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Kyrgyzstan Warns Citizens Against Travel to Russia After Concert Attack

People seen laying flowers outside the Russian Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on Saturday. EPA / Igor Kovalenko

Kyrgyzstan’s Foreign Ministry on Monday urged citizens of the Central Asian republic to not make unnecessary trips to Russia in the wake of last week’s deadly attack at a concert hall outside of Moscow. 

“Russia is currently implementing anti-terrorist measures [with] intensified entry and exit checks of those crossing the border,” senior diplomat Bakyt Kadyrov told Azattyk, the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty affiliate in Kyrgyzstan.

“[The Kyrgyz Embassy in Moscow] recommends planning travel to Russia in advance and not visiting Russia without a need,” said Kadyrov, who serves as deputy head of the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry’s consulate department.

His warning comes amid reports of increased police profiling of migrants from Tajikistan and other Central Asian republics, who make up a majority of the migrant labor force in Russia.

So far, no other Central Asian government has issued warnings for travel to Russia.

Tajikistan’s embassy in Moscow on Saturday urged its citizens to avoid crowded places, while Kazakhstan’s president ordered heightened security measures inside the country.

Prominent migrant rights’ lawyer Valentina Chupik said she had received more than 2,500 complaints of harassment, aggression and unlawful detention toward migrants over the weekend.

Russian authorities arrested four men suspected of killing at least 137 people at Crocus City Hall, a popular venue northwest of central Moscow, on Saturday.

Russian state media identified the four suspected shooters, who were placed in pre-trial detention on Sunday night, as citizens of Tajikistan.

Dushanbe has rejected the initial claims that its citizens were involved, while Russian officials have said only that the four suspects are foreign nationals. 

The Islamic State affiliate ISIS-K, which is active in Tajikistan, a country that shares a border with Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the attack and vowed to carry out more inside Russia following reports of torture against the four men arrested on Saturday. 

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