Russia and the United States are two massive countries separated by thousands of miles. With Russia spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia and the US spanning a large portion of North America, it’s no wonder many are curious just how far apart these two powerful nations really are.
How Far is Russia from the USA at the Closest Point?
At the closest point, Russia and the United States are only about 2.5 miles apart. This is the distance between Little Diomede Island, Alaska, USA and Big Diomede Island, Russia in the middle of the Bering Strait.
Little Diomede Island is located in the US state of Alaska and belongs to the city of Nome. It has a small native population of about 115 people living on the 2.8 square mile island. Big Diomede Island sits just 2.5 miles away but belongs to Russia and is uninhabited.
These two islands are the closest landmasses between the US and Russia and provide a vivid illustration of just how narrow the Bering Strait separating the two giants is at its slimmest point. But don’t be fooled by this small gap – there are still several thousand miles separating the US and Russia at most other points along their borders.
How Far Apart at the Bering Strait?
The Bering Strait is the body of water separating Russia and Alaska. At its narrowest point between Little and Big Diomede Islands, the Bering Strait is only about 53 miles wide.
While the two Diomede islands are only 2.5 miles apart, they are separated by the International Date Line which runs between them down the middle of the strait. So while they may be within eyesight of each other, the islands are literally on opposite sides of the world!
How Far is Russia from Mainland Alaska?
If you exclude the Diomede Islands, the closest point between mainland Alaska and Russia is approximately 55 miles. This is the distance across the Bering Strait between Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska and Cape Dezhnev, Russia.
Both of these capes are mainland extensions jutting out into the strait, considerably closer than other parts of Alaska and Russia. 55 miles of water still separate them, but this is the shortest distance between the contiguous landmasses of the two countries.
How Far Apart are Anchorage and Moscow?
Looking at two major cities in Alaska and Russia gives another perspective on the massive distance between the countries. The closest major city in Alaska to Russia is Anchorage. Moscow is Russia’s most populous city located in the country’s western region.
The flying distance between Anchorage and Moscow is approximately 4,857 miles or 7,817 km. That’s farther than the distance from New York to Mumbai, India!
|Distance from Anchorage (mi)
As this table shows, Moscow is significantly farther from Anchorage than New York on the east coast of the US. It’s over 60% of the distance between Anchorage and Mumbai on the other side of the world!
How Far Apart at the Eastmost Points?
At the easternmost point of mainland Russia and the United States, the countries are vastly separated by land and sea.
The easternmost point of the contiguous United States is on West Quoddy Head, Maine. The easternmost point of mainland Russia is on Cape Dezhnev on the coast of the Bering Strait. The two points are an enormous 8,615 miles (13,879 km) apart crossing nearly halfway around the globe!
Eastmost Points of Russia and USA
|Distance from Maine (mi)
|West Quoddy Head, ME
This immense distance illustrates just how far apart Russia’s easternmost point is from the USA on the other side of the world.
How Far is Russia from Contiguous USA?
Excluding Alaska, the closest point between the contiguous United States and Russia is the Diomede Islands in the middle of the Bering Strait, approximately 2.5 miles apart as mentioned earlier.
However, between the contiguous lower 48 states and Russia, the distance is much greater. The distance from Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska to Nome, Alaska to the continental US is about 1,700 miles.
Therefore, the total distance between mainland Russia and the lower 48 United States is approximately 1,755 miles at the very closest point between Cape Dezhnev and Cape Prince of Wales across the Bering Strait.
How Far Apart are Major Cities Like Moscow and Washington DC?
Looking at the capitals and major cities of Russia and the continental United States also gives perspective on the great distance between the two countries:
|Distance Apart (mi)
As this table demonstrates, major cities in Russia and the contiguous US states are generally 4,000+ miles apart or more – nearly the width of the continental United States!
How Long Would it Take to Travel Between Russia and USA?
With thousands of miles between Russia and the United States, getting between the two countries by land, sea or air takes quite a bit of time no matter which transportation method you take.
Here are estimated travel times between Moscow, Russia and Washington DC, USA:
- By plane – a nonstop flight takes around 12-13 hours covering 4,771 miles.
- By ship – ships sailing between St. Petersburg, Russia and New York cover around 4,660 miles in about 10-12 days.
- By car – driving Google’s recommended route of 6,345 miles from Moscow to Washington DC takes around 109 hours nonstop.
As you can see, traveling from major cities in Russia to the US takes the better part of a day by plane, at least a week and a half by ship, and over 4 days of continuous driving. The enormous distance makes quick trips between the two nations impossible.
How Big is Russia Compared to USA?
Russia is not only far from the United States – it is massive in size compared to the US as well. At 6.6 million square miles (17 million sq km), Russia is nearly twice as large as the entire United States which measures just under 4 million square miles (10 million sq km).
To put Russia’s massive size into perspective, it stretches across 11 time zones compared to 4 time zones in the continental US. You could fit nearly 3 whole United States into the area that Russia covers.
Country Size Comparison
|6.6 million mi2
|United States (lower 48)
|3.1 million mi2
|3.9 million mi2
This vast size difference is another factor contributing to the thousands of miles separating Russia and the United States at nearly all points. Russia is simply massive compared to any single US state or even the entire union.
While Russia and the United States may have periods of more strained or cooperative relations, their great distance from each other is unchanging. At the closest points, they are separated by less than 3 miles of ocean, but span over 8,500 miles between their most extreme points.
Major cities are between 4,000-5,000 miles of travel apart. You could drive over 6,000 miles in a straight line from Moscow to Washington DC. And Russia itself is nearly twice the size of the entire United States.
This huge physical separation between the two countries across the Bering Strait, Northern Pacific and North Pole creates an interesting geopolitical dynamic. Despite being on opposite sides of the globe, the two nations’ history and present status as world superpowers keeps their relationship intertwined.