Russia Arrests U.S. Citizen, Accusing Her of Treason by Aiding Ukraine

Russia’s main security agency said on Tuesday that it had arrested a dual citizen of Russia and the United States on accusations of committing state treason by raising funds for Ukraine.

The Federal Security Service, known as the F.S.B., identified the detainee as a 33-year-old woman who lives in Los Angeles. It said in a statement that she had raised money for a Ukrainian organization that bought weapons and other equipment for Ukraine’s military.

Perviy Otdel, a group of Russian lawyers who specialize in cases involving accusations of treason and other politically charged allegations, said that the woman had been accused of treason for sending just over $50 to Razom for Ukraine, a New York-based nonprofit organization that sends assistance to the country.

The F.S.B. said that the woman had been arrested in the city of Yekaterinburg in central Russia. RIA Novosti, a Russian state news agency, published a video that it said showed the woman, wearing a white hat that covered her eyes, being handcuffed and escorted by masked security service officers.

If convicted, she could face up to 20 years in prison.

The detention of American citizens on Russian soil in recent years has raised suspicions that the Kremlin views them as valuable assets to be traded for high-profile Russians held in custody in the United States and other Western countries.

On the same day that the woman’s arrest was announced, a Moscow court rejected an appeal by Evan Gershkovich, an American reporter for The Wall Street Journal whom Russia arrested last spring on an espionage charge, to lift his pretrial detention. It ruled that Mr. Gershkovich — who, along with his employer and the American government, has denied the charge against him — must stay in prison at least until the end of March.

The number of state treason cases in Russia has been growing steadily since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in early 2022. Last year, about 50 people were accused of the offense, according to Perviy Otdel, ranging from high-profile critics of the Kremlin to a student accused of photographing Russian Army formations in his town.

A court in Yekaterinburg was scheduled to hear an appeal by the newly arrested woman on Tuesday, according to the court’s website, which also said that she was accused of treason.

The Russian news outlet Media Zona identified her as Ksenia Karelina. Perviy Otdel identified her as Ksenia (Karelina) Khavana, with Karelina likely being her maiden name.

According to Ms. Karelina’s profile on VK, a Russian social network, she received United States citizenship in 2021. Her profile, which also identified her as a student at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, said that she had graduated from Urals Federal University in Yekaterinburg in 2014.

Perviy Otdel said that the woman was arrested at the end of January and accused of treason on Feb. 7.

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