The distraught father of Russian-American dancer Ksenia Karelina is at a loss for how to help her after Vladimir Putin’s FSB security service arrested her on treason charges.
Speaking publicly for the first time in an interview with DailyMail.com, Pavel Karelina, 56, said he could not comment on the Russian government’s ongoing case against his daughter, but thanked the public for their support.
‘We can’t really say anything now. We ourselves do not understand what is happening,” said Pavel, CEO of a transport equipment company. ‘Please understand. Thank you for your good wishes.’
Speaking publicly for the first time, Pavel Karelina, 56, told DailyMail.com that the family “doesn’t know what is happening” with his daughter Ksenia.
Ksenia Karelina, 33, pictured with her father Pavel, mother Liliya and younger sister, remains detained in Russia on charges of high treason.
Putin’s secret security force, the FSB, arrested Karelina on treason charges in January, officials confirmed Tuesday. A video released this week shows Ksenia in custody blindfolded
Ksenia, 33, a dual citizen who lives in Los Angeles, was in Russia visiting her father, mother Liliya, 52, and younger sister Anya, 11, in the city of Yekaterinburg when she was detained. . Her arrest was not revealed until this week.
She is accused of funding Ukraine’s armed forces after making a donation to a charity and now faces up to 20 years in prison.
While Ksenia has dual citizenship, her US passport in Russia is not taken into account.
A family friend said Ksenia’s relatives were “deeply shocked” by her arrest.
Family photos obtained by DailyMail.com show her with her relatives in Russia for the first time.
President Vladimir Putin has implemented draconian laws to quell criticism of his war in Ukraine. An FSB video shows Ksenia being held by security services.
It is now known that when he arrived at Koltsovo airport in Yekaterinburg, his mobile phone was searched using the search word “Ukraine”.
Karelina, a dual citizen, moved to the US after graduating from college in her native country in 2013.
Ksenia, who visited her family in Russia last month, is accused of funding Ukraine’s armed forces after making a donation to a charity and now faces up to 20 years in prison.
The case has further fueled fears that Western citizens with Russian passports are being targeted for arrest in Russia.
Authorities allegedly found evidence of a wire transfer worth $51.80 to a pro-Ukrainian foundation in the United States.
They did not arrest her immediately, but they invited her to appear at a police station the next day.
“They said it’s enough to sign a paper and there will be no more questions,” said an account on the Telegram channel.
When she arrived, according to Yekaterinburg journalist Dmitry Kolezev, she was confronted by FSB agents.
She was then detained for 14 days on an administrative charge of “using obscene language in a public place.”
After the two-week period had passed, he was told he faced more serious charges of treason.
Pavel and Liliya Karelina don’t know how to help their imprisoned daughter
Family photos obtained by DailyMail.com show Ksenia with her relatives in Russia for the first time.
On her Facebook page, Karelina says she is from Yekaterinburg and studied ballet at the SP Diaghilev school.
For now it looks like she could be locked up for 20 years for allegedly making a $51.80 payment to a US-based Ukrainian charity, Razom.
In a statement, Razom CEO Dora Chomiak lamented that the organization is “horrified by Karelina’s arrest.”
“Vladimir Putin has repeatedly demonstrated that he does not consider any sovereign border, foreign nationality or international treaty above his own interests,” Chomiak said.
“His regime attacks civil society activists who defend freedom and democracy.”
Ksenia, who works at a spa in Beverly Hills, California, had traveled to Russia on January 2.
The case has further fueled fears that Western citizens who also hold Russian passports are being targeted for arrest in Russia.
They risk becoming human bargaining chips that can be exchanged for exchange deals to bring back Russian criminals imprisoned in the United States and other Western prisons.
Russia has arrested other American citizens, including Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich, in his case on trumped-up espionage charges.
Earlier this month, Putin hinted in an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson that “a deal can be reached” over Gershkovich.