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says boyfriend of US-Russian citizen arrested for treason ‘America will bring her back to me,’

Title: American-Russian Citizen Detained in Russia Faces Treason Charges

When Ksenia Karelina, a citizen of both the US and Russia, boarded a flight from Istanbul to Russia in January, she never imagined she would end up in prison on treason charges just weeks later, as her boyfriend Chris Van Heerden shared with CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Wednesday.

According to Van Heerden, Karelina was filled with pride and excitement to return to her native Russia to visit her grandparents in Yekaterinburg. She embarked on the journey without a worry, eagerly anticipating the reunion with her family.

Their trip had started with a brief vacation in Istanbul, after which Van Heerden returned to California while Karelina continued on to Russia. However, his world was turned upside down when he received news of her detainment by Russian authorities, initially only for a short period during which her phone was confiscated.

Despite Karelina’s reassurances that everything was fine, her situation took a dark turn when she was arrested in Yekaterinburg on charges of treason, allegedly for making a small donation to a Ukrainian charity.

Van Heerden emphasized Karelina’s deep affection for Russia and her disengagement from political affairs, expressing disbelief at the accusations leveled against her. He described her as vibrant and full of life, making the prospect of a lengthy prison sentence all the more heartbreaking.

A scheduled hearing on Karelina’s case was postponed due to her lack of legal representation, with lawyers hesitant to take on her defense. To alleviate the financial burden of legal fees, a GoFundMe page has been established.

Despite the challenges they face, Van Heerden remains hopeful that the US government will intervene to secure Karelina’s release and bring her back home. He maintains faith in the American justice system and its ability to advocate for its citizens abroad.

In response to the situation, Russian investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov suggested that Karelina’s case could be part of a broader strategy by Russia to exert pressure on the US by detaining its citizens. This development comes amidst ongoing tensions between the two countries, with several Americans detained in Russia in recent years, including journalist Evan Gershkovich, whose extended detention was upheld by a Moscow court.

Putin’s recent remarks regarding a potential exchange involving Gershkovich underscore the complex geopolitical dynamics at play, highlighting the precarious situation faced by individuals caught in the crossfire of international disputes.

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