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Russian court begins treason trial against Russian-American citizen

The trial of a Russian-American dual national accused of committing treason by raising funds for the Ukrainian military has begun in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.

Ksenia Karelina, 33, was detained in Yekaterinburg earlier this year while visiting her grandparents. She is accused of donating US$51.80 (R$280.95) to a Ukrainian charity in the US, according to her employer – a spa in Beverly Hills, California.

His trial began this Thursday morning (20) and will be held behind closed doors. If convicted, she could face up to 20 years in prison.

Karelina, a Los Angeles resident and amateur dancer who became an American citizen in 2021, entered Russia in January, but the US only learned of her arrest on February 8.

Chris Van Deerden, Karelina’s boyfriend, said to CNN who bought tickets for her to visit the country as a birthday present. He said she was “proud to be Russian and doesn’t watch the news. She doesn’t intervene in anything about the war.”

“I believe America will bring her back to me,” Van Heerden said.

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) accused Karelina of participating in “public actions to support the Kiev regime”. The organization to which Karelina allegedly gave money, the New York-based nonprofit Razom for Ukraine, said it was “shocked” by her detention.

Karelina is among several American citizens detained in Russian prisons, including journalists and former soldiers.

Russian prosecutors confirmed this week that Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, the first American journalist to be arrested on espionage charges in Russia since the Cold War, will stand trial on June 26.

His trial will also be held behind closed doors in Yekaterinburg, where he was arrested more than a year ago.

When discussing Karelina’s case, Russian investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov said to CNN that the FSB intends to “build a bank of hostages with American passports”, which Moscow can use “as leverage” in any negotiations with Washington.

Source: CNN Brasil

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