Woman Arrested in Russia for Ukrainian Support From Los Angeles

Woman Arrested in Russia for Ukrainian Support From Los Angeles

A building heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike in central Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Jan. 17, 2024. (Yan Dobronosov/Reuters)

Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

2/21/2024

Updated: 2/21/2024

Russia security officials announced Feb. 20 that they have arrested a Los Angeles woman for allegedly providing financial support to Ukraine, according to the Russian Federal Security Service.
The woman, 33, has dual citizenship between the United States and Russia, according to the agency, which didn’t provide more details.
They said she “was involved in providing financial assistance to a foreign state in activities directed against the security of our country,” agency officials said in the announcement.
“Since February 2022, she has proactively collected funds in the interests of one of the Ukrainian organizations, which were subsequently used to purchase tactical medicine, equipment, weapons and ammunition by the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” the officials said. “In addition to the United States, this citizen repeatedly took part in public actions in support of the Kyiv regime.”
According to media reports, the woman arrested was Ksenia Karelina Khavana and has been a U.S. citizen since 2021 after she married an American. She reportedly donated $51 to a Ukrainian human-rights organization in the United States on Feb. 24, 2022—the same day Russia invaded Ukraine.
Employers at the Ciel Spa in the SLS hotel in Beverly Grove, near Beverly Hills, also confirmed the woman’s identity who they said stopped showing up to work last month, which is when they found out about her arrest, according to local television station KTLA 5. According to the woman’s LinkedIn page, she has worked as a manager at the hotel since 2019.
Ciel Spa CEO Isabella Koretz told the news station that Ms. Khavana went to visit family in Russia before she was arrested and she had worked for the hotel for a total of eight years. Ms. Koretz said Ms. Khavana initially received her visa to travel to the U.S. as a ballet dancer.
Ms. Khavana was additionally said to have been charged with treason, which can carry a life sentence, according to Time.
White House spokesperson John Kirby said Tuesday during a press conference that federal officials are working on obtaining additional information about her arrest. He advised Americans against traveling to Russia and urged any U.S. citizens there to leave.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

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Rudy Blalock is a Southern California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. Originally from Michigan, he moved to California in 2017, and the sunshine and ocean have kept him here since. In his free time, he may be found underwater scuba diving, on top of a mountain hiking or snowboarding—or at home meditating, which helps fuel his active lifestyle.

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