U.S.-Russian Dual Citizen Arrested for Treason

(USNewsMag.com) – A 33-year-old woman from Los Angeles who has dual U.S. and Russian citizenship has been detained in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg for suspicion of treason.

A Russian-American ballerina, Kseniya Karelina became a U.S. citizen in 2021. She had been in Russia since January 2nd, with the U.S. learning of her arrest on February 8th.

According to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), the woman was arrested because she attended pro-Ukraine rallies in the United States and, since February 2022, had also been raising money for a Ukrainian group that helped fund Ukraine’s armed forces. The FSB said she acted “against the security of our country.”

According to the FSB, the Ukrainian army used the money to buy ammunition, equipment, medical supplies, and weapons.

Photos and videos of Karelina being arrested show her handcuffed, then show a uniformed officer helping her into the back of a car.

Though not confirmed to be the charity she donated to, Razom for Ukraine CEO Dora Chomiak issued a statement saying the organization is “appalled” by Karelina’s arrest. Chomiak also said the focus of the Razom for Ukraine organization is education, disaster relief, advocacy, and humanitarian aid.

On February 20th, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the State Department and White House are working to “secure some consular access” to Karelina.

As part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on dissent, in April 2023, the maximum sentence for treason was increased from 20 years to life in prison.

Karelina is the latest American citizen arrested in Russia.

American citizen Robert Romanov Woodland was detained and arrested in January for drug trafficking charges. In 2023, dual Russian-American reporter Alsu Kurmasheva was detained and charged with failure to register as a foreign agent. For almost a year, Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has been detained for espionage charges. Since 2018, former U.S. marine Paul Whelan has been in prison in Russia, serving a 16-year sentence for charges of spying.

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