Home » Russia Arrests U.S. Citizen, Accusing Her of Treason by Aiding Ukraine

Russia Arrests U.S. Citizen, Accusing Her of Treason by Aiding Ukraine

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Russia’s most important safety company mentioned on Tuesday that it had arrested a twin citizen of Russia and america on accusations of committing state treason by elevating funds for Ukraine.

The Federal Safety Service, generally known as the F.S.B., recognized the detainee as a 33-year-old lady who lives in Los Angeles. It mentioned in a statement that she had raised cash for a Ukrainian group that purchased weapons and different gear for Ukraine’s army.

Perviy Otdel, a bunch of Russian attorneys who specialise in circumstances involving accusations of treason and different politically charged allegations, mentioned that the girl had been accused of treason for sending simply over $50 to Razom for Ukraine, a New York-based nonprofit group that sends assistance to the country.

The F.S.B. mentioned that she had been arrested within the metropolis of Yekaterinburg, in central Russia. RIA Novosti, a Russian state information company, printed a video that it mentioned confirmed the girl, carrying a white hat that lined her eyes, being handcuffed and escorted by masked safety service officers.

If convicted, she may withstand 20 years in jail.

The detention of Americans on Russian soil in recent times has raised suspicions that the Kremlin views them as helpful belongings to be traded for high-profile Russians held in custody in america and different Western international locations.

On the identical day that the girl’s arrest was introduced, a Moscow courtroom rejected an enchantment by Evan Gershkovich, an American reporter for The Wall Road Journal whom Russia arrested final spring on an espionage cost, to carry his pretrial detention. It dominated that Mr. Gershkovich — who, alongside together with his employer and the American authorities, has denied the cost in opposition to him — should keep in jail at the very least till the top of March.

A State Division spokesman, Matthew Miller, informed reporters on Tuesday that america had requested consular help for the girl, however “that has not but been granted.” He mentioned that Russia in impact “doesn’t acknowledge” twin citizenship and considers such individuals “to be Russian residents in the beginning.”

A Russian information outlet, Media Zona, identified the detainee as Ksenia Karelina. Perviy Otdel, the authorized group, identified her as Ksenia (Karelina) Khavana, with Karelina more than likely being her maiden identify. Perviy Otdel mentioned she was arrested on the finish of January and accused of treason on Feb. 7.

In accordance with Ms. Karelina’s profile on VK, a Russian social community, she received U.S. citizenship in 2021. Her profile, which recognized her as a scholar on the College of Maryland in Baltimore, mentioned that she had graduated from Urals Federal College in Yekaterinburg in 2014.

In an interview at her house in Maryland on Tuesday, Ms. Karelina’s former mother-in-law, Eleanora Srebroski, mentioned that Ms. Karelina was as soon as married to her son, Evgeny. She grew up in Yekaterinburg and got here to america for a work-study program, working that summer time at a fruit stand in Randallstown, Md., promoting fruit and veggies. (Ms. Srebroski, 56, is herself from Russia, and grew up about 120 miles away from Yekaterinburg, she mentioned.)

The couple married in 2013, however after they cut up up about two years later, Ms. Karelina left Maryland for Los Angeles, the place she labored at a Beverly Hills resort as an aesthetician and spa supervisor, Ms. Srebroski mentioned.

Isabella Koretz, the president of Ciel Spa in Beverly Hills, Calif., confirmed that Ksenia Khavana has labored there for eight years. A statement put out by the spa mentioned that she had traveled to Russia to go to her 90-year-old grandmother, mother and father and a youthful sister, and that she was now being held in a Russian jail, wrongly accused of treason “for allegedly donating $51.80 to a Ukrainian charity within the U.S.”

“To know Ksenia is to like her,” the assertion mentioned. “This heartbreaking information is so troublesome to share, but it surely should be accomplished to unfold her story and search justice.”

Mrs. Srebroski mentioned that she had realized of the arrest of her former daughter-in-law solely that day, when a reporter known as.

“She’s a stupendous, lovely individual,” mentioned Mrs. Srebroski. “She simply brings mild in every single place she goes.”

She mentioned she wouldn’t be shocked if her former daughter-in-law had donated cash for Ukraine: “Anybody who’s damage, she is on their aspect.”

Mykola Murskyj, the director of advocacy for Razom for Ukraine, mentioned he couldn’t touch upon the nonprofit’s donor base or any contributions, however he mentioned the group was alarmed by the arrest.

He mentioned that Razom for Ukraine, which is concentrated on humanitarian assist reduction work, offers tactical, medical first-aid kits and different provides to the nation’s entrance traces. He disputed the F.S.B.’s declare that the group had offered weapons to the army.

“That’s nonsense,” Mr. Murskyj mentioned. “We do present first-aid provides to Ukrainian troopers and people preventing for Ukraine’s independence, however by no means weapons or ammunition.”

Mr. Miller, the State Division spokesman, declined to invest on whether or not america would possibly formally decide the girl to be “wrongfully detained,” because it has for 2 Individuals already in custody in Russia, Mr. Gershkovich and Paul Whelan. Such a willpower would imply america considers a detainee to be the equal of a hostage, permitting for particular efforts to win his or her launch.

The variety of state treason circumstances in Russia has been rising steadily since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in early 2022. Final 12 months, about 50 individuals had been accused of the offense, according to Perviy Otdel, starting from high-profile critics of the Kremlin to a scholar accused of photographing Russian Military formations in his city.

A courtroom in Yekaterinburg was scheduled to listen to an enchantment by the girl whose arrest was introduced on Tuesday, according to the court’s website, which additionally mentioned that she was accused of treason.

Campbell Robertson, Michael Crowley Kitty Bennett, Rachel Parsons and Amanda E. Newman contributed reporting.

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