Britain sanctioned 12 members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle on Friday.
This included his ex-wife Lyudmila Ocheretnaya and his estranged girlfriend Alina Kabaeva, a 38-year-old former Olympic gymnast.
The British government said she claimed to have had a close personal relationship with Putin.
Foreign Minister Liz Truss said in a statement that “we are exposing and targeting the insidious networks that promote President Putin’s extravagant lifestyle.”
“Until Ukraine is victorious, we will continue to impose sanctions on anyone who aids or instigates Putin’s attack,” she said.
The Kremlin leader’s modest state salary and officially declared assets were falsified by reports linking him to luxury yachts and huge estates called “Putin’s Palace,” Britain said.
His true wealth is hidden in his family, childhood friends and a network of Russian elites who have been appointed to powerful roles “in return for indomitable loyalty”.
Others approved on Friday included a cousin of Putin and Alexander Plekhov, a “close friend” who controls the Vital Development Corp.
The UK says it has sanctioned 100 Russian corporations, including more than 1,000 individuals and oligarchs worth more than $140 billion, since Putin’s order.end of February.
reported by the Wall Street Journal end of last month Because the action was considered too drastic.
The newspaper quoted an unnamed official as saying:An investigation into Russian interference in the US presidential election revealed that Kabaeva benefited from Putin’s influence and personal wealth. The US government suspected Kabaeva was hiding some of her fortune abroad, and US officials also added that she sees Kabaeva as the mother of at least three of Putin’s children.
The journal wrote that the possible sanctions against Kabaeva were eventually halted because they thought it was “too personal blow to Putin and could further escalate tensions between Russia and the United States”.
Rumors of the personal relationship of the Russian leader with Kabaeva have been circulating for many years. Russian tabloids called her “Russia’s First Lady” and even “Secret First Lady”.