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THE SMOKE SIGNAL

L.A. woman detained in Russia for donating to Ukraine

A 33-year-old Los Angeles resident was arrested for potential treason charges, she allegedly donated $51.80, raised money and attended public rallies in support of the Kyiv regime. Russia’s Mediazona identified the resident as Kesenia Karelina, who holds citizenship in both America and Russia. She allegedly entered Russia on January 2 and was first detained on January 27 in the city of Yekaterinburg, although the US only learned of her arrest on February 8.

As of recently, Karelina’s boyfriend, Chris Van Heerden, has been working hard to ensure that she can return safely. Karelina originally went to Russia to visit her relatives for her birthday, which she was very excited for. He was stated to be very worried for Karelina and can’t imagine how scared she must be as Van Heerden described her as a sweetheart and soft. Karelina is facing a potential 20-year prison sentence, with America not being granted consular access to her. This is because Russia does recognize dual citizenship, thus seeing Karelina as a Russian citizen and nothing more.

Karelina’s hearing has been postponed until February 29, due to the absence of a lawyer. New York-based non-profit Razom has urged the US government to do everything in its power to demand the release of all of those who were unjustly detained and imprisoned by Russia. 

Karelina is one of many US citizens who have been detained, in fact, the same day when Karelina was arrested, American Journalist Evan Gershkovich’s pre-trial detention was upheld until March 30.

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Adrian Vargas, Staff Writer
The young-looking Adrian Vargas is a senior at Hart High School. This is his first and last year being part of The Smoke Signal. He enjoys biking in his free time, and he also tends to draw and/or scribble. He's usually reserved to himself and his friends, but when he gets comfortable he lets his personality out. Some people say he looks Filipino, but he's actually Mexican.
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