Britain sanctions Putin’s inner circle, including rumored mistress Alina Kabaeva

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LONDON — The UK has imposed a new round of sanctions that will ban travel and freeze the assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s family and close friends — including his alleged mistress Alina Kabaeva.

“We are exposing and targeting the shady network propping up Putin’s luxury lifestyle and tightening the vice on his inner circle,” Britain’s foreign secretary, Liz Truss, released on Friday. “We will keep going with sanctions on all those aiding and abetting Putin’s aggression until Ukraine prevails.”

The group includes Igor Putin, the president’s cousin, and Lyudmila Ocheretnaya, the former first lady of the Russian Federation and Putin’s ex-wife. Despite their divorce in 2014, the Foreign Office believes that Ocheretnaya benefited from “preferential business relationships with state-owned entities.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) hands flowers to Alina Kabayeva, Russian rythmic gymnastics star and Olympic prize winner, after awarding her with an Order of Friendship during annual award ceremony in the Kremlin 08 June 2001. (Sergei ChirikovAFP via Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) hands flowers to Alina Kabayeva, Russian rythmic gymnastics star and Olympic prize winner, after awarding her with an Order of Friendship during annual award ceremony in the Kremlin 08 June 2001. (Sergei ChirikovAFP via Getty Images)

Among the sanctioned is Kabaeva — a retired Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast to be the “First Mistress” and “Secret First Lady” — who the Foreign Office said is “alleged to have a close personal relationship with Putin.” In recent years, Kabaeva, who is rumored to have children with Putin, sat as the deputy in the Russian state assembly, the Duma, for Putin’s United Russia party. Kabaeva’s grandmother, Anna Zatseplina, was also sanctioned.

The penalties also targeted the Kremlin leader’s loyal supporters and friends — many of whom have important positions within the government and financial institutions. They include: Alexander Plekhov, a friend of Putin; Mikhail Klishin, a top executive in Bank Rossiya; Vladimir Kolbin, the son of Putin’s childhood friend and alleged business associate, Peter Kolbin; and Yuri Shamalov, the son of Nikolai Shamalov who was sanctioned by Britain in 2014.

“Today’s sanctions will hit this cabal who owe Putin their wealth and power, and in turn support Putin and his war machine,” the Foreign Office report said.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila attend a service at Blagoveshchensky (the Annunciation) cathedral in Moscows Kremlin, on May 7, 2012, after Putin's inauguration ceremony.  Putin took his oath of office today to become Russia's president for a historic third mandate at a glittering ceremony inside the Kremlin.  (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA-NOVOSTI/AFP via Getty Images)

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila attend a service at Blagoveshchensky (the Annunciation) cathedral in Moscows Kremlin, on May 7, 2012, after Putin’s inauguration ceremony. Putin took his oath of office today to become Russia’s president for a historic third mandate at a glittering ceremony inside the Kremlin. (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA-NOVOSTI/AFP via Getty Images)

The Biden administration has withheld Kabaeva from several rounds of sanctions following the war. US officials decided to leave Kabaeva out of the tough penalties over fears that doing so would thwart efforts in negotiating an end to the invasion and would fuel tensions between Russia and the US The US Treasury Department said that sanctions against Kabaeva, however, aren’ t off the table.

Following the announcement on Friday, Trust that the new sanctions were “targeting the shady network propping up Putin’s luxury lifestyle.” She added: “We’re ramping up the pressure on all those aiding and abetting Putin’s aggression until Ukraine prevails.”

So far the UK has sanctioned over 1,000 individuals and 100 entities since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. The net global worth of those sanctioned is over $142 billion, according to the UK

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