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US sanctions Putin “girlfriend”, other oligarchs for “complicity” in Ukraine war

#sanctions #Putin #girlfriend #oligarchs #complicity #Ukraine #war

The United States blacklisted the alleged girlfriend of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the tycoon owner of the second largest estate in London on Tuesday in the latest round of sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.

Also hit by US business bans were several other oligarchs believed to be close to Putin, four officials Russia appointed to manage occupied territories in Ukraine, and around two dozen high-tech institutes and companies, including important ones government-backed electronics companies.

The US Treasury Department announced sanctions against Putin partner and billionaire Andrey Grigoryevich Guryev, who owns the Witanhurst estate, the second largest estate in London after Buckingham Palace.

Guryev is the founder and former Vice President of PhosAgro, a major supplier to the global fertilizer market.

He and his son have been hit by financial sanctions that ban US companies – including banks with US branches – from doing business with them and freeze their assets under US jurisdiction.

The Ministry of Finance has also blacklisted Guryev’s 81-meter (267-foot) Alfa Nero yacht in the Caribbean, putting her at risk of confiscation.

However, the Treasury said Alfa Nero had “reportedly shut down its location-tracking hardware to avoid seizure.”

The Treasury also imposed sanctions on Alina Kabaeva, a former Olympic gymnast widely described as Putin’s girlfriend, and on Natalya Popova, the wife of Kirill Dmitriev, the manager of the Russian government’s huge sovereign wealth fund.

The Finance Ministry said Popova works for the technology company Innopraktika, which is run by one of Putin’s daughters.

“While innocent people suffer from Russia’s illegal war of aggression, Putin’s allies have enriched themselves and funded opulent lifestyles,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.

“The Treasury will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that the Russian elites and Kremlin movers and shakers are held accountable for their complicity in a war that has claimed countless lives,” Yellen said.

Sanctions also hit Viktor Filippovich Rashnikov, one of Russia’s largest taxpayers, and two subsidiaries of his MMK, one of the world’s largest steel producers.

In a joint action, the State Department imposed sanctions, including visa restrictions, on oligarchs who “run massive, revenue-generating companies,” including Dmitry Aleksandrovich Pumpyanskiy, Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko, and Alexander Anatolevich Ponomarenko.

In addition, nearly 900 Russian officials have been placed on a U.S. visa ban list, as have 31 unnamed non-Russian officials who have supported Russia’s occupation of Crimea, the State Department said.

“Today, the United States is taking additional measures to ensure that the Kremlin and its aides feel the amplifying effects of our response to the Kremlin’s ruthless war of aggression,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

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