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Russia Arrests Anti-War Volunteer Helping Ukrainian Refugees

Nadine Geisler (Nadezhda Rossinskaya). Nadine Geisler / Instagram

A Russian model and photographer who helps Ukrainian refugees flee the war has been arrested on criminal charges of undermining state security, the independent news website Mediazona reported Friday.

Nadezhda Rossinskaya, who goes by the name Nadine Geisler, is accused of posting information about collecting humanitarian aid for the Ukrainian military's Azov Regiment on Instagram last August. 

Geisler, 28, denies any affiliation with the Instagram account.

Her attorney argues that the since-deleted profile may have been created by individuals who wished “to get rid of people who want to help their country.”

Russia blacklisted the Azov Regiment as a “terrorist” organization in mid-2022.

Belgorod’s Sverdlovsk District Court placed Geisler in pre-trial detention for two months until March 31, Mediazona reported.

She faces up to seven years in prison if found guilty of calls for actions that undermine Russia’s territorial integrity.

Geisler was detained Thursday upon her return to Russia by train. 

She said she fled to Georgia in May 2023 soon after Russian authorities detained a young woman who had donated to her cause.

The Azov Regiment was formed in 2014 as a far-right volunteer paramilitary unit fighting against pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. It was later reformed and integrated into Ukraine’s national guard.

Russia has used Azov’s past links with right-wing extremism to justify its invasion and “de-Nazification” of Ukraine nearly two years ago.

Moscow banned Instagram's parent company Meta as “extremist” shortly after invading Ukraine.

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