Alina Kabaeva: US sanctions against Putin’s alleged girlfriend

Alina Maratovna Kabaeva, who was romantically linked to the Russian leader, was sanctioned “because she was or was a leader, civil servant, senior executive or board member of the government of the Russian Federation,” a financial department statement said.

In it, the 39-year-old Kabaeva is described as having “a close relationship with Putin”. She is a former member of the State Duma “and is currently the head of the National Media Group, a pro-Kremlin empire of television, radio and print organizations”.

In April, The Wall Street Journal reported that the US was considering sanctions against Kabaeva, but there were concerns that such a move would stoke tensions given her closeness to Putin.

Kabaeva has previously been sanctioned by the European Union and the UK.

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In addition to Kabaeva, the Treasury announced sanctions against a number of other oligarchs, a major steelmaker and two of its subsidiaries, as well as a financial institution accused of running a sanctions-evasion operation and its director-general.

Separately, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced sanctions against three oligarchs, a Russian state-owned company overseen by the Department of Transportation, “four individuals and one entity operating unlawfully on the territory of Ukraine in cooperation with Russia” and 24 Russian defense and technology company-related entities.

The US is also imposing visa restrictions on 893 Russian Federation officials and “31 foreign government officials who acted to support Russia’s alleged annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region, thereby threatening or violating Ukraine’s sovereignty,” Blinken said.

Many of the designations announced by the US target oligarchs previously sanctioned by allies such as the UK, Australia, Canada and the European Union. They come when the war in Ukraine has entered its sixth month.

“Opulent Lifestyle”

“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 the Kremlin’s movers and shakers are held accountable for their complicity in a war that has claimed countless lives.”

The oligarchs sanctioned by the State Department are Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko, Alexander Anatolevich Ponomarenko and Dmitry Aleksandrovich Pumpyanskiy. The yacht AXIOMA has been identified as a blocked property in which Pumpyanskiy has an interest, the Foreign Ministry said in a leaflet.

According to that fact sheet, Ponomarenko is “an oligarch with close ties to other oligarchs and to the construction of Vladimir Putin’s seaside palace,” previously sanctioned by the UK, EU, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Among the oligarchs sanctioned by the Treasury on Tuesday is Andrey Grigoryevich Guryev, the Russian billionaire founder of chemical company PhosAgro and a former government official, who is described by the Treasury as “a known close associate” of Putin. He is also sanctioned by the UK and, according to the US Treasury Department, “he owns the Witanhurst estate, which is the second largest estate in London after Buckingham Palace”.

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The Finance Ministry on Tuesday identified the Alfa Nero yacht, reportedly owned by AG Guryev, as blocked property.

AG Guryev’s son, Andrey Andreevich Guryev, was also sanctioned by the US on Tuesday after previously being sanctioned by Australia, Canada, the European Union, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, as was his investment firm Dzhi AI Invest OOO.

Natalya Valeryevna Popova was sanctioned “because she worked or worked in the technology sector of the economy of the Russian Federation and was or was an executive, civil servant, officer or board member of LLC VEB Ventures”. is a sanctioned entity. She was also sanctioned for being the wife of Kirill Aleksandrovich Dmitriev, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). Both he and the RDIF were sanctioned in the days after the war began.

Joint Stock Company Promising Industrial and Infrastructure Technologies, “a financial institution owned by Russia’s Federal Agency for State Asset Management,” and its general director Anton Sergeyevich Uruzov were sanctioned on Tuesday for allegedly evading sanctions.

According to the Ministry of Finance, “JSC PPIT sought to facilitate the circumvention of sanctions imposed on the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).”

The Treasury sanctioned Publichnoe Aktsionernoe Obschestvo Magnitogorskiy Metallurgicheskiy Kombinat (MMK), which is described as “one of the largest steel producers in the world”, the chairman of its board, Viktor Filippovich Rashnikov – who was also sanctioned by Australia, Canada, the EU, Switzerland and the UK – and two subsidiaries of MMK.

“MMK is one of Russia’s largest taxpayers and represents a significant source of revenue for the government of the Russian Federation,” the Ministry of Finance said. The agency has approved a settlement deadline for transactions involving MMK and one of its subsidiaries.

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