Washington's embassy in Russia cites "threats of attacks" in major Russian cities and along border with Ukraine, drawing sharp rebuke from Moscow.

Ukrainian troops are seen along the frontline outside of Popasna, Ukraine on February 20, 2022.
Ukrainian troops are seen along the frontline outside of Popasna, Ukraine on February 20, 2022. (AA)

The US embassy in Russia has cautioned Americans to have evacuation plans, citing the threat of attacks in Moscow and along the Russian border with Ukraine, drawing a rebuke from Moscow.

"There have been threats of attacks against shopping centres, railway and metro stations, and other public gathering places in major urban areas, including Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as in areas of heightened tension along the Russian border with Ukraine," the US embassy said on Sunday.

"Review your personal security plans," the embassy said.

"Have evacuation plans that do not rely on US government assistance."

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova questioned if the United States had passed on the information about possible attacks to Russia.

"And if not, how is one to understand all of this?" Zakharova said.

READ MORE: The Ukraine crisis has its roots in an EU failure in a Dutch town in 1992

Western accusations 

Western countries have been warning for weeks that Moscow could be planning an attack on its ex-Soviet neighbour, accusing Russia of building up a force of tens of thousands of troops.

Local authorities around Russia's border with Ukraine in recent days have announced a state of emergency as evacuees cross into the country from rebel-held territory in east Ukraine.

The emergencies ministry said on Sunday that more than 50,000 people had entered Russia since separatist leaders in two breakaway republics told women and children to go to Russia on Friday, citing an increase in tensions.

Ukraine has been fighting pro-Moscow separatists since 2014 when Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula in the wake of massive streets protest. 

More than 14,000 people have since died in the fighting.

READ MORE: EU – West can't keep offering olive branch to Russia

Source: Reuters