The US Treasury has expanded sanctions against more Russian elite and “Putin’s friends.” In particular, the former Russian athlete (rhythmic gymnast) Alina Kabaeva has been added to the list.
Kabaeva has had a long-term close relationship with the Russian president Vladimir Putin and heads the National Media Group – a pro-Kremlin media empire that includes television, radio, and publishing houses.
Kabaeva is also believed to have three children with Putin. According to several journalists’ investigations, she allegedly gave birth to her first child in 2015 in Switzerland and then twins in 2019 in Moscow.
Potentially, Kabaeva could be helping the Russian president hide assets abroad. A month ago, the Western press revealed that Putin had purchased real estate in Turkey for his mistress and mother of his children. American media has claimed that the United States was hesitant to impose sanctions against Kabaeva because of the possible “aggressive” reaction of Putin.
At the beginning of Russia’s war in Ukraine, Kabaeva was living in Switzerland and visited some events in Moscow and Sochi. In the spring, Putin’s mistress appeared at the Alina (gymnastics) Festival, held at the Moscow VTB Arena sports complex. In early summer, Kabaeva visited a training camp in Sochi, organized by her charitable foundation.
More of “Putin’s friends” included in the US sanctions list are:
Natalya Popova, First Deputy General Director of the Innopraktika Foundation (an organization headed by Putin’s daughter Maria Vorontsova and sponsored by the Kremlin).
Andrei Melnichenko, the founder and ex-beneficiary of fertilizer producer EuroChem Group and coal producer SUEK;
Dmitry Pumpyansky, the owner and chairman of OAO TMK, a Russian global manufacturer of steel pipes for the oil and gas industry;
Andrei Guryev, the former head of PhosAgro, one of the world’s four largest producers of phosphate-based fertilizers;
Viktor Rashnikov, the Russian oligarch, made his wealth in the iron and steel industry, being the majority owner of Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works, one of the world’s leading steel producers.
Alexander Ponomarenko – co-owner of Sheremetyevo Airport, whom Alexei Navalny called the nominal owner of “Putin’s palace” near Sochi.
Another group of people added to the list are Ukrainian citizens cooperating with Russia in the occupied Ukrainian territories. Among them are representatives of the Russian occupation authorities of the Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo and Kirill Stremousov, and the Russian mayor of Mariupol, collaborator Konstantin Ivashchenko.
The US has also imposed sanctions against several scientific and technological organizations. Among them were the Skoltech Institute and the Skolkovo Foundation, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, the State Transport Leasing Company, and the Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works.
The US State Department is introducing visa restrictions against 893 Russian officials, including members of the Federation Council and the Russian armed forces, and against 31 foreign officials who supported the annexation of Crimea to Russia.
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