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American ballerina Ksenia Karelina has been held for SEVEN WEEKS in freezing Russian jail cell and subjected to 13-hour interrogation sessions for giving $51 to Ukrainian charity, employer reveals


The Russian-American ballerina arrested in Moscow has been detained for seven weeks, interrogated for up to 13 hours and forced to sell her assets in Los Angeles, her friend and employer told DailyMail.com.

Ksenia Karelina, 32, who now works in a Beverly Hills spa, is accused of treason in Russia for sending $51.80 to a Ukrainian charity. She faces 20 years in prison.

Her close friend and employer, Isabella Koretz, told DailyMail.com that Karelina was arrested as soon as she landed in Moscow on January 2, ‘interrogated for 13 hours’ and placed in a freezing cold jail cell with two other women.

Koretz, 47, said Karelina had traveled to the land of her birth to visit her parents, little sister and elderly grandparents.

Karelina is accused of fund raising for a pro-Ukrainian charity. She posted this picture when she was granted US citizenship in 2021

Karelina is accused of fund raising for a pro-Ukrainian charity. She posted this picture when she was granted US citizenship in 2021

Vladimir Putin 's secret security force the FSB arrested dual Russian-American Ksenia Karelina, 32, on treason charges, officials confirmed Tuesday. She appeared in court blindfolded

Vladimir Putin ‘s secret security force the FSB arrested dual Russian-American Ksenia Karelina, 32, on treason charges, officials confirmed Tuesday. She appeared in court blindfolded

On her Facebook page, Karelina says that she's from Yekaterinburg, Russia, and that she studied ballet at the S. P. Diaghilev school

On her Facebook page, Karelina says that she’s from Yekaterinburg, Russia, and that she studied ballet at the S. P. Diaghilev school

Karelina graduated from Ural Federal University in 2013. Numerous posts on her Facebook page show her in Baltimore, Maryland, beginning in 2014

Karelina graduated from Ural Federal University in 2013. Numerous posts on her Facebook page show her in Baltimore, Maryland, beginning in 2014

Treason charges can carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison

Treason charges can carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison

‘She’s not a politician, she’s an aesthetician,’ said Koretz, 47, who runs Ciel Spa in Beverly Hills. ‘She’s just a super sweet person and wanted to help.

‘She’s an American citizen. She’s entitled to do whatever she wants to do, and she was really missing her family.

‘She flew from Istanbul to Russia. And she was detained right upon arrival.

Isabella Koretz told DailyMail that her employee Is being held in a freezing Russian prison cell with two other women prisoners

Isabella Koretz told DailyMail that her employee Is being held in a freezing Russian prison cell with two other women prisoners

‘You know what the interrogations are like in Russia. She’s 32, she’s a ballerina for god’s sakes.’

‘They arrested her, they kept her there, interrogated her for like 13 hours. Then they let her go, but they were bringing her back and forth to jail.’

Koretz said she met Karelina eight years ago, hired her as a secretary then promoted her to an esthetician, and became close friends with her employee.

She said she pleaded with Karelina not to go to Russia, fearing something bad would happen.

‘She asked for permission to go and I had a long conversation with her. I said please don’t go, I don’t think it’s safe, don’t go. She’s like, No, I really want to go. We agreed just for two weeks.’

Koretz said she messaged her staffer when the two weeks was up, but the messages went unread. Then she found out about Karelina’s arrest.

‘One of the final arrests before she was put in prison, they asked her to come out on a public square, saying they wanted to chat with her about something – then several agencies including the FSB arrested her publicly,’ the spa president said.

‘Every time she appears in front of the judge, the judge extends her sentence.

‘We do know that she’s sitting in the cell with two other women who are accused of the same thing. We can write short letters to her over email.

‘She has a toothbrush, shampoo, and that’s about it. You know how cold it is.’

Koretz told DailyMail.com Karelina’s most recent message back via the prison was especially worrying.

‘She has been in communication with her best friend and her roommate,’ Koretz said. ‘The last message that we got, she asked to close out for all her affairs here, to pay all the credit card bills and to sell her car because she doesn’t know when she’s coming back.’

Koretz said she tried hiring attorneys in Russia to fight Karelina’s case, but said they took $10,000 and produced little results, besides passing on information about Karelina’s dire circumstances. 

Katerina at work in the Beverly Hills spa. ‘She walked in through the door. She was lovely. I hired her,’ employer Isabella Koretz said. said. ‘We've lived through everything together, through Covid. She’s incredible'

Katerina at work in the Beverly Hills spa. ‘She walked in through the door. She was lovely. I hired her,’ employer Isabella Koretz said. said. ‘We’ve lived through everything together, through Covid. She’s incredible’

Karelina she studied at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, where she lived with her former husband

Karelina she studied at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, where she lived with her former husband

One of Katerina's roommates is model Anna Leonova who has modeled for make-up brands including Sephora and Ulta Beauty

Katerina lives with two roommates in an apartment in this building in the La Brea area of Los Angeles

Katerina lives with two roommates including model Anna Leonova in an apartment building in the La Brea area of Los Angeles

Karelina works at the Ciel Spa located in the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills

Karelina works at the Ciel Spa located in the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills

She said that the Russian attorneys she hired gave her the information about Karelina’s arrest and lengthy ‘interrogation’. She added that communication via the jail email was difficult because authorities monitored the messages.

‘I’ve written, through her friend, to her jail email. I told her I love her and we’ll wait for her,’ the spa president said. ‘There’s nothing else we can say, all the letters are being read. 

‘We cannot say on that email that we’re looking for attorneys, that we’ve got in touch with US Embassy.’

‘We reached out to the US Embassy,’ Koretz said. ‘They said off the books that they are aware of the case, but they told us that they don’t have anybody to trade her with.

‘She’s not a basketball player, she’s nobody public. If it wouldn’t be for Navalny’s death we probably wouldn’t even hear of Ksenia,’ she added, referriing to the dissident who died in a Siberian prison earlier this week.

Koretz said she quickly became close friends with Karelina after she applied for a job at her spa around 2016.

Karelina previously lived in Maryland with her former husband Evgeny Khavana

Karelina previously lived in Maryland with her former husband Evgeny Khavana

‘She walked in through the door. She was lovely. I hired her,’ she said. ‘She worked at our front desk and worked her way up in my company. We’ve lived through everything together, through Covid. She’s incredible.

‘She came to this country on a visa to dance at a ballet theater in Baltimore.’

The 32-year-old esthetician lives in a Los Angeles apartment in the neighborhood of La Brea near Beverly Hills with two other young women, including model Anna Leonova. 

Leonova has modeled for make-up brands including Sephora and Ulta Beauty, according to her website.

Karelina’s two female Los Angeles roommates also told DailyMail.com that she had flown to Russia to visit her family, but declined to comment further.

Though Russian media reported that the ex-ballet dancer was married to an American citizen, the roommates said that she had been divorced ‘for a long time’.

Karelina previously lived in Reisterstown, Maryland with her ex-husband Evgeny Khavana. Maryland court records show a joint tax lien from 2022 for the couple.

Koretz said Karelina still officially goes by her ex-husband’s last name.

Koretz said that the Russian attorneys she hired gave her the information about Karelina’s arrest and lengthy ‘interrogation’. She added that communication via the jail email was difficult because authorities monitored the messages.

‘I’ve written, through her friend, to her jail email. I told her I love her and we’ll wait for her,’ the spa president said. ‘There’s nothing else we can say, all the letters are being read. We cannot say on that email that we’re looking for attorneys, that we’ve got in touch with US Embassy.’



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