Russian-American Ballerina Faces Treason Charges Over $51 Ukraine Donation

Russian-American Ballerina Faces Treason Charges Over $51 Ukraine Donation

A Russian-American ballerina is awaiting a closed-door trial in Russia after being charged with “high treason” in the country following her $51 donation to a Ukrainian charity.

If found guilty, Ksenia Karelina, a Russian native who obtained US citizenship in 2021, may receive a term ranging from 12 years to life in prison, according to Reuters. The secret trial for her started on Thursday in a Yekaterinburg court.

The trial has been postponed until August 7 according to a notification posted on the court’s website, according to the outlet. The postponement’s cause is not immediately apparent.

Karelina, 33, was detained in February on treason charges after she supposedly sent $51.80 to Razom for Ukraine, a nonprofit organization based in New York that offers non-combative assistance to the war-torn nation.

In February 2022, she made her donation on the same day that Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. Working in a posh hotel spa in Beverly Hills, Karelina was starting a new life in Los Angeles.

But on January 28, while she was in Russia visiting relatives, she was detained, and that’s when her life changed. Her apprehension generated indignation and made news.

Read Also: American Military Personnel Imprisoned in Russia for Four Years

She had been “proactively collecting funds… which were subsequently used to purchase tactical medical items, equipment, means of destruction, and ammunition for the Ukrainian armed forces,” according to a statement released at the time by the Russian Federal Security Service.

Chris Van Deerden, her boyfriend, stated, “She doesn’t intervene with anything about the war.”

“I believe America will bring her back to me,” he continued.

She was already being held in the county when she was accused of treason and given a 14-day jail sentence for disobeying public order.

She went to Russia and her partner chose to return home to the US when they were in Istanbul celebrating the new year.

With everything going on with the war in Ukraine, I feared it could be risky for her to go, but she reassured me that she was Russian and that everything would be alright, Van Deerden said to The Los Angeles Times in late February.

He added: “So, for her birthday in December, I bought her a ticket. She was so excited. Now, I am hitting myself over the head about it.”

In a statement following her apprehension, the charity denounced her detention and urged the US government to persist in exerting all necessary efforts to secure the release of all individuals wrongfully imprisoned by Russia, as well as to hold Russia’s military and political authorities responsible for their senseless incursion into Ukraine.


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