A Los Angeles woman with dual U.S.-Russian citizenship has been arrested in Russia on treason for allegedly donating to Ukraine.
Ksenia Karelina, a 33-year-old amateur ballerina, was taken into custody and now faces 20 years in prison, Russia’s top domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), said in a statement.
“Since February 2022, she has proactively collected funds in the interests of one of the Ukrainian organizations, which were subsequently used to purchase tactical medicine, equipment, weapons and ammunition by the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” the statement reads, as reported by Fox News.
“In addition, in the United States, this citizen repeatedly took part in public actions in support of the Kyiv regime,” it continues.
Watch video footage of her arrest below:
Russian authorities detained a citizen with dual nationality of Russia and the United States and residing in Los Angeles, Ksenia Karelina, on suspicion of treason.
According to the Russian government, Karelina was dedicated to collecting funds for an unidentified… pic.twitter.com/0Zn5jNJfDs
— The Informant (@theinformantofc) February 20, 2024
The Biden administration is reportedly aware of her arrest.
“A State Department spokesman … told reporters on Tuesday that the United States had requested consular assistance for the woman, but ‘that has not yet been granted,’” The New York Times has confirmed. “He said that Russia in effect ‘does not recognize’ dual citizenship and considers such people ‘to be Russian citizens first and foremost.’”
White House national security spokesperson John Kirby meanwhile stressed in a separate statement that U.S. citizens traveling to or living in Russia should be extremely careful and consider leaving.
“I want to reiterate our very strong warnings about the danger posed to U.S. citizens inside Russia,” he said. “So if you’re a U.S. citizen, including a dual national residing in or traveling in Russia, you ought to leave right now.”
Another American is locked up behind bars in Russia. Ksenia Karelina, a Los Angeles based ballerina, was arrested for treason after donating $51.83 to support Ukraine and is now facing up to two decades in prison. This isn’t about anything else but a middle finger to the United… pic.twitter.com/02XV91Kvwl
— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) February 21, 2024
According to the Times, Karelina received U.S. citizenship three years ago while living in Maryland after marrying an American whom she later divorced. She then relocated to Los Angeles, where she picked up a job working at the Ciel Spa in Beverly Hills.
“Ksenia, a dual citizen, went to Russia to visit her 90-year-old grandmother, parents and younger sister. She has been accused of treason for allegedly donating $51.80 to a Ukrainian charity in the U.S.,” the spa said in a statement published to Instagram.
“To know Ksenia is to love her and this heartbreaking news is so difficult to share but it must be done to spread her story and seek justice,” the statement, seen below, continues.
View this post on Instagram
Mykola Murskyj, the director of advocacy for Razom for Ukraine, the group that Karelina allegedly donated to, has also come to her defense.
“He said that Razom for Ukraine, which is focused on humanitarian aid relief work, provides tactical, medical first-aid kits and other supplies to the country’s front lines. He disputed the F.S.B.’s claim that the group had provided weapons to the military,” according to the Times.
“That’s nonsense,” Murskyj said. “We do provide first-aid supplies to Ukrainian soldiers and those fighting for Ukraine’s independence, but never weapons or ammunition.”
Eleonora Srebroski, Karelina’s former mother-in-law, is for her part afraid that her former daughter-in-law won’t make it back home.
“I don’t have hope for Russian justice,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “It does not exist. But here, we live in a powerful country, and we can make noise and attract attention.”
‘I just hope she does not spend the rest of her life in jail…. I know in Russia she will be physically abused, mentally abused, and I’m very concerned,” she added.
32 year old American citizen Ksenia Karelina was detained in Russia for ‘high treason.’
Her crime? Raising $51 for the Ukrainian Army.
If convicted she faces 20 years in jail pic.twitter.com/5gC8HSM4p5
— James Landis #Fella (@JamesLLandis) February 20, 2024
How exactly did Karelina get caught?”
The Russian lawyers group known as Perviy Otdel, or First Department, suggested to the Los Angeles Times that her donation was likely discovered while the authorities were going through her phone during a border crossing or other chicken.
“We recommend deleting the history of money transfers to foreign accounts from banking applications, including foreign banks,” the group reportedly said.
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Author: Vivek Saxena
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