Putin's rumored mistress and ex-wife hit with sanctions as UK targets his 'shady network'

·2 min read
Putin's rumored mistress and ex-wife hit with sanctions as UK targets his 'shady network'
Alina Kabaeva vladimir putin girlfriend
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) smiles next to Russian gymnast Alina Kabaeva in 2004.REUTERS/ITAR-TASS/PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE
  • The UK sanctioned Russian President's Vladimir Putin's "inner circle," including his rumored girlfriend and ex-wife.

  • The fresh sanctions target 12 people who the UK government says fund Putin's lavish lifestyle.

  • "We are exposing and targeting the shady network propping up Putin's luxury lifestyle," British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.

The UK on Friday slapped sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin's "shady network," including his rumored girlfriend and ex-wife, over Moscow's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

The fresh sanctions target 12 people "deep within Putin's inner circle" who the UK government says fund the Russian leader's lavish lifestyle and who he has rewarded with "state positions and wealth in return for their undying loyalty."

"We are exposing and targeting the shady network propping up Putin's luxury lifestyle and tightening the vice on his inner circle," Liz Truss, the UK's foreign secretary, said in a statement.

"We will keep going with sanctions on all those aiding and abetting Putin's aggression until Ukraine prevails," Truss added.

Since Putin launched his war on Ukraine on February 24, the UK has sanctioned more than 1,000 individuals and 100 entities, including Russian oligarchs worth more than $140 billion.

Those hit in this latest round of sanctions by the UK includes Putin's rumored girlfriend Alina Kabaeva, a former Olympic gymnast, and his ex-wife Lyudmila Ocheretnaya.

It is widely believed that Kabaeva shares several children with the Russian leader, including twins.

"Kabaeva has risen to become Chair of the Board of the National Media Group, reportedly the largest private Russian media company," the UK government said, noting that the 39-year-old is "alleged to have a close personal relationship with Putin."

Ocheretnaya and Putin divorced in 2014, and she has "benefited from preferential business relationships with state-owned entities," the UK said.

Others sanctioned on Friday include Kabaeva's grandmother, cousins of Putin, close friends and financiers.

"Today's sanctions will hit this cabal who owe Putin their wealth and power, and in turn support Putin and his war machine," the UK said.

The UK explained that official records show "modest" assets for Putin, including a small home in St. Petersburg and two Soviet-era cars from the 1950s.

"In reality, Putin relies on his network of family, childhood friends, and selected elite who have benefited from his rule and in turn support his lifestyle. Their reward is influence over the affairs of the Russian state that goes far beyond their formal positions," the UK said.

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