"Do Not For Any Reason Travel To Russia," State Dept Says, As Moscow Opens "Treason" Trial Against Dual U.S. Citizen

"Do Not For Any Reason Travel To Russia," State Dept Says, As Moscow Opens "Treason" Trial Against Dual U.S. Citizen

The United States on Thursday once again urged its citizens not to travel to Russia "for any reason", after a Russian-American woman, who had been arrested earlier this year while visiting family in Russia, went this week on trial for alleged "treason" as authorities accuse her of raising money to send to the Ukrainian army, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.

"No American citizen for any reason should travel to Russia." State Department's spokesperson Matthew Miller told a daily briefing when responding to TURAN's questions.  "I know this sometimes comes down to a very painful choice for Americans who have family members in Russia — sometimes family members with health problems that they want to see.  But you run a tremendous risk by traveling to Russia of being detained, being imprisoned, being convicted," he added.

A Russian-born Los Angeles resident Ksenia Karelina, who had built a new life as an aesthetician after immigrating to the United States over a decade ago, faces a sentence of 12 years to life in prison if found guilty. She was arrested in Yekaterinburg in February while visiting her family.

Russia’s main domestic security agency, the Federal Security Service, charges that Karelina raised money for a Ukrainian organization that was providing weapons, ammunition and other supplies to the Ukrainian military.

Her boyfriend has said she made a single donation of about $50 to a Ukrainian organization, according to media reports.

When asked by TURAN about Ksenia, Miller said the U.S. tries to seek access to citizens detained abroad and that consular officers seek to provide them with appropriate assistance.

He added that Russia has long taken the position that it does not have to respond to those requests for appropriate assistance when it comes to dual nationals. "But that said, we continue to actively seek access to any individuals in this situation," he concluded.

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