Vladimir Putin’s women hit by new set of sanctions

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Alina Kabaeva, 39, a retired Olympic gymnast believed to be the tyrant’s lover, was targeted. And Lyudmila Ocheretnaya, 64, who was married to the despot until 2014, was also sanctioned.The Foreign Office said the measures would see members of Putin’s inner circle hit as the UK seeks new ways of punishing Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

The President’s official assets are modest, said the Foreign Office, with his lifestyle “funded by a cabal of family, friends and elites”.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “We are exposing and targeting the shady network propping up Putin’s luxury lifestyle and tightening the vice on his inner circle.

“We will keep going with sanctions on all those aiding and abetting Putin’s aggression until Ukraine prevails.”

A UK official described Kabaeva as having a “close personal relationship” with the former KGB officer. Reports suggest the 2004 Athens gold medallist has been engaged to the Russian leader and has had his children.

Official records list the Kremlin leader’s assets as minor, including a small flat in St Petersburg, two Soviet-era cars from the 1950s, a trailer and a small garage. But UK aides said the 69-year-old relies on his “wallet” of family, childhood friends and a hand-picked elite which has benefited from his rule.

Putin has displayed a lavish lifestyle, with Whitehall pointing to reports exposing links to a £566million yacht and a $1billion palace – officially owned by close associate Arkady Rotenberg, who was sanctioned in December 2020.

Those newly placed on the sanctions list, which has frozen assets and placed UK travel bans on more than 1,000 individuals and 100 entities, include the former first lady of the Russian Federation.

Since her divorce from the president in 2014, Ocheretnaya has benefited from “preferential business relationships with state entities”, officials said.

Kabaeva is chair of the board of the National Media Group, the largest private Russian media company. Igor Putin, a first cousin and director of Pechenga International Sea Port, has been targeted, along with Mikhail Putin, a relative who is deputy chairman of energy giant Gazprom.

Roman Putin, a first cousin once removed, has been open about his relation to the president and emphasises how this family connection enabled his company Putin Consulting to help foreign investors in Russia, the Foreign Office said when sanctioning him.

UK officials say Russia is in the worst recession since the end of the ColdWar.

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