US-Russian Ballerina Faces Possible Life Sentence for Alleged Donation to Ukrainian Charity

US-Russian ballerina Ksenia Karelina is currently facing the possibility of a life sentence in Russia after allegedly donating just $51 to a Ukrainian charity. The 32-year-old US-Russian citizen, who works as a spa worker in Beverly Hills, was initially arrested on charges of “petty hooliganism,” but the charges were later upgraded to treason when her donation was accused of supporting Ukraine’s military.

Karelina’s boyfriend, Chris Van Heerden, revealed that they were unaware of the impending trouble as they celebrated the new year together in Turkey before Karelina flew to Russia to visit her 90-year-old grandmother. Van Heerden, a professional boxer, stated that during their time in Istanbul, Karelina appeared carefree and confident, believing that being Russian would protect her. However, upon her arrival at the airport, she was briefly detained, and her phone was seized by authorities.

For the following three weeks, Karelina and Van Heerden communicated through her mother’s phone until January 27, just two days before her scheduled return to the US. Van Heerden recounted their last conversation, where Karelina mentioned picking up her phone. Unfortunately, that was the final contact they had.

Van Heerden described Karelina as a proud Russian who never discussed the country’s invasion of Ukraine, as she did not watch the news or involve herself in such matters. He expressed his belief in America’s ability to bring her back, emphasizing her normalcy and the importance of reuniting her with friends and family.

However, the State Department spokesperson, Matthew Miller, cautioned that assisting Karelina, a dual US-Russian citizen, might prove challenging due to Russia’s stance on dual citizenship. Miller explained that Russia considers its citizens to be Russian first and foremost, making it difficult to provide consular assistance. Nevertheless, the US government will pursue all available avenues to support detained US citizens.

A hearing on Karelina’s case was recently postponed due to her lack of legal representation. Van Heerden shared that lawyers were hesitant to take on her case, with one willing to help but demanding an exorbitant fee. To alleviate the financial burden, a GoFundMe page has been established.

Van Heerden, known for his tough persona, admitted that he is more of a romantic at heart. He expressed the difficulty of finding enjoyment while knowing that he is free while Karelina remains detained.

Author: CrimeDoor

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