Russia detains 33-year-old Los Angeles woman who made $51 donation to Ukraine charity

Leanne Suter Image
Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Russia detains Los Angeles woman on suspicion of treason
Russian authorities have reportedly detained a Los Angeles woman on suspicion of treason because of her efforts to support Ukraine, including a $51 donation to charity.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Russian authorities have detained a Los Angeles woman on suspicion of treason for her efforts supporting Ukraine.

Video shows the 33-year-old woman, who has dual Russian-American citizenship, being led away by officers with a hat pulled down over her eyes.

Her employer, Ciel Spa in Beverly Hills, confirmed the detained woman is spa employee Ksenia Khavana. It is believed she was visiting family in Russia when she was detained.

Isabella Koretz with Ciel Spa issued a statement:

"Ciel Spa management and team is devastated to share that our beloved esthetician and friend, Ksenia Khavana has been wrongly accused, arrested and currently being held in the Russian prison system."

Ksenia Khavana of Los Angeles has been detained in Russia.
Ciel Spa

"Ksenia, a dual citizen, went to Russia to visit her 90-year-old grandmother, parents and younger sister. She has been accused of treason for allegedly donating $51.80 to a Ukrainian charity in the US. To know Ksenia is to love her and this heartbreaking news is so difficult to share but it must be done to spread her story and seek justice. Please help us spread the word and bring Ksenia home!"

The spa says Khavana has worked there for eight years, and that her background as a ballet dancer led to her first visa to visit the United States.

Russian media reports say Khavana is accused of raising money to support Ukraine's military, attending pro-Ukraine rallies and posting messages against Russia's war.

If convicted, she could face up to 20 years in prison.

Khavana's former mother-in-law Eleonora Srebroski is pleading with the U.S. government to help.

"My son told me that he was trying to get in touch with her, and she would not respond," Srebroski told Eyewitness News. "He was not really concerned about that, but now he understands why she was not responding."

The 33-year-old Khavana became a U.S. citizen in 2021.

"I would not be surprised seeing her helping people because she's that kind of person," Srebroski said. "She brings light everywhere she shows up."

The U.S. State Department, which has warned Americans against visiting Russia, says it has asked for consular assistance.

Srebroski is speaking out in hopes of saving Khavana's life.

"She is a beautiful, gentle flower," Srebroski said. "If we do not protect her as an American citizen, nobody else will."