Russia Detains American for Alleged ‘Treason’ Over Donation to Ukrainian Charity

( – The Bureau of Consular Affairs with the US Department of State lists travel advisories for countries all over the world. The reason for the communication is to warn travelers of the dangers around the world, specifically for Americans. In September 2023, the department updated its advisory for Russia, listing it as a Do Not Travel zone for US travelers. It warned of not only dangers from the war but also the possibility of harassment and detention by the Russian government. Recently, another American got arrested in Russia and her family is asking for help.

What Happened?

On February 20, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) reported it investigated and detained a 33-year-old dual citizen from Los Angeles, California. The communication said the woman raised money to help a Ukrainian organization that used the funds to buy equipment, medicine, weapons, and ammunition for the country’s armed forces. The FSB claimed she also participated in pro-Ukrainian public actions supporting Ukraine while in the United States. The security service stated her alleged actions constituted a crime under Article 275 of the Russian criminal code — treason.

The Daily Wire identified the woman as Ksenia Karelina, a Russian citizen who also became a US citizen in 2021. The outlet said the American hadn’t raised funds but donated a little bit of money — about $50 — to a Ukrainian charity. She was reportedly arrested in January in Yekaterinburg while in Russia visiting her family. Karelina could spend up to 20 years in prison if convicted.


According to The New York Times, Karelina’s former mother-in-law, Eleanora Srebroski, is asking the US government for help freeing the woman and bringing her back home. The woman said her ex-daughter-in-law grew up in Yekaterinburg and came to the US to work and study. She originally lived in Maryland but moved to California after her divorce in 2015. The spa where she works, Ciel Spa, released a statement on social media stating the woman had been “wrongly accused.” The business said the news was “heartbreaking” and her colleagues were trying to spread the word about her story.

As for the Ukrainian charity, the director of the organization said the entity only provides humanitarian aid and such supplies to the front lines, “never weapons or ammunition,” as the FSB claimed.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said the United States asked for consular assistance for Karelina, but said it hadn’t “been granted.” He explained that Russia doesn’t “recognize” dual citizenship, so — to them — she is only a Russian citizen.

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