Who is Ksenia Karelina? American ballerina detained for 'high treason' in Russia - Hindustan Times
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Who is Ksenia Karelina? American ballerina detained for 'high treason' in Russia; White House raises alarm

ByShweta Kukreti
Feb 20, 2024 11:30 PM IST

American ballerina Ksenia Karelina was first arrested for minor offenses, but later she was charged with aiding the military effort in Ukraine amid the war.

Ksenia Karelina, a dual Russian-American ballerina, has been placed under detention by Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin's Federal Security Service (FSB) on treasonous suspicion, according to reports released on Tuesday. Her arrest took place in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg.

Ksenia Karelina, a dual Russian-American ballerina, has been placed under detention.(X@JamesLLandis)
Ksenia Karelina, a dual Russian-American ballerina, has been placed under detention.(X@JamesLLandis)

Several Russian news outlets have released a video showing 32-year-old Karelina being led into a courtroom in handcuffs with her face blurred. It's still unknown when the video was shot.

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As per a Daily Mail, Karelina, a resident of Los Angeles who became a US citizen in 2021, used to share happy moments from her life in the United States on social media. Last summer, she married her American partner, whose identity is still unknown.

Karelina was first arrested for minor offenses, but later she was charged with aiding the military effort in Ukraine by reportedly transferring $51.80 from her American bank account to the Ukrainian charity Razom.

According to Moscow Times, the FSB said the Karelina is accused of “proactively collecting funds since February 2022 in the interests of a Ukrainian organization, which were subsequently used to purchase tactical medicine, equipment, weapons and ammunition for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”

“In addition, the citizen in question repeatedly took part in public actions in support of the Kyiv regime while in the United States,” the law enforcement agency added.

In Russia, treason accusations carry heavy jail terms and 63 people have been prosecuted with treason since 2023, and 37 of them have been found guilty.

Also Read: Blinken talks to American detained in Russia, vows effort to free him

Who is Ksenia Karelina?

According to her Facebook page, Karelina attended the S. P. Diaghilev school in Yekaterinburg for ballet training. After obtaining a degree from Ural Federal University in 2013, she started her career in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2014.

According to Mediazona, the charges against Karelina progressed from minor infractions to high treason accusations. She had stopped using Russian social media in 2021 after becoming a citizen of the United States.

Karelina's LinkedIn profile details her career as a manager at Ciel Spa Beverly Hills from 2019.

The White House is trying to find out more about a dual Russian-American ballerina who was detained on treasonous suspicions by Putin's FSB and is advising any American citizens who may be in Moscow to leave the country right away.

'We are trying to get more information and to secure some consular access to that individual,' White House spokesman John Kirby said during a Tuesday briefing.

Meanwhile, her family expressed shock over her detention, stating that she was suppose to return home soon.

White House scrambles for more info, raises alarm for other US citizens

The White House istrying to find out more about a dual Russian-American ballerinawho was detained on treasonous suspicions by Putin's FSB and is advising any American citizens who may be in Moscow to leave the countryright away.

“We are trying to get more information and to secure some consular access to that individual,” White House spokesman John Kirby said during a Tuesday briefing.

In addition, he issued a warning to all American citizens, including those who hold dual Russian citizenship, to depart the nation right away.

“I want to reiterate our very strong warnings about the danger posed to U.S. citizens inside Russia. So if you're a US citizen, including a dual nationals residing in or traveling in Russia, you ought to leave right now,” Kirby said.

“Obviously it goes without saying if you're a US citizen or you have a US passport, and you haven't traveled to Russia but you're considering going, obviously urging you not to do that,” he concluded.

Karelina's detention brings the total number of American detainees in Russia to 21, including writer Evan Gershkovich, former Marine Paul Whelan, and David Barnes, who was recently given a 21-year term for abusing children.

The announcement of Karelina's arrest coincided with the extension of Gershkovich's pre-trial imprisonment.

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