Russia detains LA ballerina Karelina for suspected treason

A possible twenty-year prison term awaits Kseniya Karelina, who was apprehended in Russia on suspicion of donating to a charity that aids the Ukrainian war effort.

A ballerina from Los Angeles has been apprehended by Russian authorities on suspicion of treason, in connection with allegations that she participated in fundraising efforts for Ukraine.

According to a senior US official who spoke to NBC News, Russia is detaining Russian-American ballerina Kseniya Karelina.

The 33-year-old obtained U.S. citizenship in 2021, according to a US official.

Since 2022, the unnamed woman has been “involved in providing financial assistance to a foreign state in activities directed against the security of our country,” according to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).

The funds she collected were utilized to purchase equipment, ammunition, medicine, and weaponry for the Ukrainian war effort, according to the statement.

Treason carries a maximum prison sentence of twenty years in Russia. At present, Ms. Karelina is held in custody pursuant to a pre-trial custody order.

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The White House stated that it was investigating the alleged arrest and was inquiring further.

Mr. Karelina entered Russia on January 2, and the United States became aware of her detention on February 8, according to a US official who spoke to NBC News.

The American charity Razom for Ukraine, which claims to provide “education, advocacy, and humanitarian aid in Ukraine,” expressed “appalled” by the arrest rumours.

It has been reported that Ms. Karelina contributed to the charity subsequent to Russia’s incursion into Ukraine; however, the charity declined to disclose donor information to NBC.

Ria Novosti, a Russian state-owned news agency, obtained footage depicting officials escorting a woman to what appeared to be a courtroom holding chamber while handcuffing her face and covering her eyes with a hat.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby informed reporters that it was perilous for dual citizens and U.S. citizens to be in Russia, but he was unable to provide further details on the incident.

Mr. Kirby advised any U.S. citizen, including dual nationals, who is domiciled in or travelling through Russia to depart as soon as possible. Depart without delay.

At a briefing on Tuesday, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller stated that the United States was requesting consular assistance, but it had not yet been granted.

Consular assistance may be difficult to obtain due to the fact that Russia does not recognize dual citizenship and considers them to be Russian citizens first and foremost, he explained.

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