Russia Detains a Dual Citizen of the US on Charges of Supporting Ukraine

Russia Detains a Dual Citizen of the US

A dual citizen of the United States and Russia was detained on treasonous accusations, according to a report released by Russia’s top domestic intelligence agency on Tuesday. She was allegedly funding Ukrainian organizations and providing support to Kyiv.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) said in a statement that the woman, who it only identified as a 33-year-old Los Angeles resident, was detained in Yekaterinburg, central Russia, for giving money to a foreign state in activities “directed against the security” of the nation.

According to the FSB, she has been actively gathering money since February 2022 on behalf of a Ukrainian group. The money was then utilized by the Ukrainian Armed Forces to buy supplies, ammunition, weaponry, and tactical medical treatment.

The woman was named as Ksenia Karelina by the independent news source MediaZona, which also stated that she became a citizen of the United States upon marrying an American. Additionally, the FSB claimed that Karelina frequently participated in public demonstrations in favor of the Kyiv authorities while she was a US citizen.

According to Article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code, Karelina is charged with treason, a crime that carries a 12-to 20-year jail sentence. Karelina was detained pending trial by Russian authorities, according to The Moscow Times.

Only a few days had passed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has left millions of people internally homeless and left entire towns in ruins. The announcement coincided with the anniversary of the assault. Amidst the war and heightened tensions between the US and Russia, Moscow has recently imprisoned a number of Americans and used them in prisoner exchanges.

Russia Detains a Dual Citizen of the US on Charges of Supporting Ukraine
Karelina is charged with treason, a crime that carries a 12-to 20-year jail sentence.

Karelina reportedly gave $51.80 to Razom for Ukraine, a New York-based NGO that provides aid to Ukraine, according to Russian legal rights group Perviy Otdel, as reported by The New York Times. The organization expressed its “appalled” response to reports of Karelina’s detention in a statement on Tuesday.

CEO of Razom for Ukraine Dora Chomiak stated in the statement that “our activities are focused on providing humanitarian assistance, disaster assistance, education, and advocacy, which are in line with our charitable goals and our legal responsibilities as an American charitable foundation.”

The Moscow Times said that FSB agents were seen in videos released by state-run news outlets taking Karelina—who was wearing handcuffs and a blindfold—from an apartment block to a courthouse. She’s been put in custody until trial.

The State Department and the White House were informed of allegations of the detention of a dual citizen of the United States and Russia, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby informed reporters on Tuesday. He did not reveal the woman’s identity, but he did say that authorities are attempting to obtain additional details and obtain access to the person through a consulate.

Kirby went on to say that it is risky for Americans to be in Russia. He advised any U.S. citizens living in or visiting Russia, including dual citizens, to depart immediately.

Additionally, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller stated on Tuesday that Moscow does not acknowledge dual citizenship because it believes them to be Russian citizens initially and foremost with regard to dual nationals of the United States and Russia.

US Citizens in Russian Prisons

In recent years, a number of American citizens have been detained in Russian prisons. Reporter Evan Gershkovich of the Wall Street Journal was detained in Yekaterinburg in March on suspicion of espionage.

The Moscow City Court upheld a previous decision to keep Gershkovich in custody until the end of March on Tuesday, rejecting an appeal against his detention submitted by his attorneys. The U.S. government has ruled that Gershkovich was illegally jailed, and he and the Journal have refuted the espionage claims.

For neglecting to register as a foreign agent, Russian-American journalist and editor Alsu Kurmasheva of Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) was arrested in October. Her detention, according to U.S. government-funded media outlet RFE/RL, signified a “fresh level of wartime repression.”

Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine, was detained in December 2018 and is currently serving a 16-year term for espionage. Whelan has been wrongfully jailed for more than five years, according to the Biden administration.

WNBA player Brittney Griner was involved in a high-profile prisoner swap in 2022 after being held in custody in Russia for about ten months. Griner was exchanged for the release of Viktor Bout, a prominent Russian weapons dealer serving a 25-year prison sentence, from a U.S. prison.

Also Read: Biden Demands That the US Give Billions to Ukraine and Holds Putin Accountable for Navalny’s Death

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