Russia arrests US ballerina for ‘high treason’ after raising £41 for Ukraine

Footage shows Karelina, a 33-year-old ballerina with dual Russian-American citizenship, with handcuffs around her wrists.

Russia arrests US ballerina for ‘high treason’ after raising £41 for Ukraine

Russia’s security service detained a US citizen on suspicion of ‘high treason’ after she allegedly raised £41.10 for the Ukrainian military.

vand a hat pulled over her eyes. She’s then led into court where she’s seen behind metal bars.

The resident of Los Angeles – believed to be married to an American – was arrested in Yekatarinburg on the same day American journalist Tucker Carlson conducted a two-hour interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Another US journalist, Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, was arrested in the same city, 800 miles east of Moscow, on espionage charges last year.

Putin???s FSB detain Ksenia Karelina, 33, a US woman with joint Russian citizenship on suspicion of high treason, which means she can be jailed for up to 20 years
The FSB, the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB, detained Ksenia Karelina, 33, a woman with joint US-Russian citizenship on suspicion of high treason. (Picture: Ria Novosti/e2w)
Putin???s FSB detain Ksenia Karelina, 33, a US woman with joint Russian citizenship on suspicion of high treason, which means she can be jailed for up to 20 years
Video footage shows Karelina, a joint Russian-US citizen, being led away by security services (Picture: Ria Novosti/e2w)
Putin???s FSB detain Ksenia Karelina, 33, a US woman with joint Russian citizenship on suspicion of high treason, which means she can be jailed for up to 20 years
Russian-US citizen Ksenia Karelina was seen handcuffed and blindfolded in her home city of Yekaterinburg, Russia (Picture: Ria Novosti/e2w)

Karelina is accused of ‘providing financial assistance to a foreign state in activities directed against the security of’, according to a statement by the FSB, Russia’s security service, Reuters reported.

It is alleged she transferred $51.8 to Razom for Ukraine, a US charity describing itself as ‘actively contributing to the establishment of a secure, prosperous, and democratic Ukraine’.

The organisation’s website says it uses donations to fund food packages for Ukrainian families, children’s summer camps, first aid kits, psychological support for vulnerable kids, field medic packs, and home repair kits.

Karelina now faces up to life in prison after Putin increased the sentence for treason from 20 years in 2023.

Putin???s FSB detain Ksenia Karelina, 33, a US woman with joint Russian citizenship on suspicion of high treason, which means she can be jailed for up to 20 years
Karelina was visiting Yekaterinburg where she’s originally from when she was arrested (Picture: K Karelina/e2w)
Ksenia Karelina, a 33-year-old resident of Los Angeles originally from Russia, is accused of treason in her home country
Ksenia Karelina, a 33-year-old resident of Los Angeles originally from Russia, is accused of treason in her home country (Picture: Ksenia Karelina/e2w)

An FSB spokesperson said: ‘Since February 2022, she has been proactively collecting funds in the interests of one of the Ukrainian organisations, which were subsequently used to purchase tactical medicine items, equipment, weapons and ammunition by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.’

According to Karelina’s Facebook page, she’s originally from Yekatarinburg and studied at the Urals Federal University based there.

The 33-year-old is understood to have gained US citizenship in 2021. She was visiting Yekaterinburg at the time of her arrest.

It was in the US that the FSB alleges she ‘repeatedly took part in public actions in support of the Kyiv regime’, The Moscow Times reported.

She was initially arrested at the end of January and sentenced to 14 days in prison for ‘swearing’, according to Mediazona, an independent Russian outlet. The charge was later upgraded to treason.

Follow Metro on WhatsApp to be the first to get all the latest news

Apps With More Than One Million Users
Follow us to receive the latest news updates from Metro (Picture: Getty Images)

Metro’s on Whatsapp! Join our community for breaking news and juicy stories.

Karelina was supposed to have a court hearing on Tuesday, February 20, but this was postponed to February 29 due to the lack of a lawyer, RIA Novosti reported.

Fyodor Krasheninnikov, a political scientist and Putin critic who fled Russia in 2021, said: ‘She probably supported Ukraine a couple of times on social networks, maybe she collected something there.”

‘If you participated in any anti-war protests, wrote something on social networks, or, especially, donated to Ukrainians or encouraged them to do this, think a hundred times.

‘Do you really need to go to Russia urgently? A second passport will not save you from anything.’

A spokesperson for the US embassy in Moscow said: ‘We are aware of the reports, however due to privacy considerations we have nothing further to convey at this moment.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.