US-Russian Woman Has Been Arrested

US-Russian Woman Has Been Arrested

( – In the wake of its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has strengthened its legislation surrounding what it deems as treasonous activities. Those convicted of such crimes face up to life in prison. That could be the fate of one woman holding dual citizenship in the US and Russia.

On Tuesday, February 20, Russia’s Federal Security Service, more commonly known as the FSB, announced it had arrested 33-year-old Ksenia Karelina on charges of treason. In a statement, it alleged the woman had “proactively collect[ed] funds” which she then “used to purchase tactical medical items, equipment, means of destruction and ammunition” for Ukraine’s army, according to CBS News.

A televised group of Russian lawyers, Perviy Otdel, said the woman merely sent just over $50 to Razom for Ukraine, a nonprofit organization sending aid to the war-torn country, which resulted in the charges. The organization’s advocacy director, Mykola Murskyj, could not confirm that she had donated due to confidentiality reasons but called her arrest cause for alarm. He did clarify that the charity does not send ammunition or weaponry, as the Russian government alleged, just first-aid supplies. Russian prosecutors also accused Karelina of attending pro-Ukraine rallies throughout the United States.

Karelina, a ballerina, moved to the US more than 10 years ago and worked toward gaining her citizenship here, which she received in 2021. Now living in Los Angeles, she flew to Moscow in January to visit family in Yekaterinburg. Authorities arrested her the same month.

The woman’s former mother-in-law, Eleonora Srebroski, fears for Karelina’s safety, citing the recent death of Alexei Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest foe. Further complicating matters, per The New York Times, Russia “does not recognize” dual citizenship, according to State Department spokesman Matthew Miller, which could complicate US requests for consular assistance.

Karelina is facing up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

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