Putin’s alleged ex-lover among Russians targeted by latest UK sanctions

One of the Russians targeted by UK sanctions on Wednesday to mark Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s visit to London is Vladimir Putin’s alleged former lover, Svetlana Krivonogikh.

The foreign secretary, James Cleverly, announced a new round of sanctions against Kremlin-connected individuals and military entities involved in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They included a drone manufacturer, a helicopter parts firm, and an aviation software company.

But what appears to be the most pointed and personal measure concerned Krivonogikh, a Russian national who worked as a cleaner in the 1990s before meeting Putin in St Petersburg. The Russian investigative website Proekt claims Putin is the father of Krivonogikh’s daughter Luiza.

Putin has two adult daughters with his former wife, Lyudmila. He has not commented on the Proekt story.

In 2021, an offshore leak known as the Pandora Papers revealed how Krivonogikh grew rich after Putin became Russia’s president in 2000. She acquired several properties, including a luxury flat in Monaco bought in 2003, the same year she gave birth to her daughter.

She also became a shareholder in Bank Rossiya, a St Petersburg bank known for its connections to Putin’s inner circle, and acquired a stake in the National Media Group. Its publications “consistently promote the Russian assault in Ukraine”, the Foreign Office said.

Krivonogikh bought an apartment overlooking Monaco’s marina for €3.6m via an offshore company, Brockville Development Ltd. A Monaco professional services firm arranged the secret purchase. Its clients include the Russian oil trader Gennady Timchenko – who has known Putin since at least the early 1990s – and Petr Kolbin, a childhood friend of the president’s, now dead.

The Pandora Papers leak of 11.9m documents shed new light on the opaque financial affairs of Putin’s friends and close family members. In 2020, Proekt revealed Krivonogikh had accumulated a $100m fortune from her holding in Bank Rossiya, which is used extensively by Putin’s former KGB colleagues.

One of the five individuals sanctioned on Wednesday was Boris Titov, Russia’s presidential commissioner for entrepreneur’s rights. Titov got the job after buying a large vineyard in Putin’s alleged palace near the Black Sea resort of Sochi, the Foreign Office said.

Cleverly said: “These new sanctions accelerate the economic pressure on Putin – undermining his war machine to help Ukraine prevail. I am determined, consistent with our laws, that Russia will have no access to the assets we have frozen until it ends, once and for all, its threats to Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and integrity.”