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Putin’s girlfriend and reputed ex-wife sanctioned by UK government

Russian politician and former Olympic champion Alina Kabaeva smiles as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin delivers a speech at the United Russia Party congress November 27, 2011 in Moscow, Russia. (Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Alina Kabaeva, a woman who was romantically involved with Vladimir Putin, and the Russian leader’s ex-wife Lyudmila Ocheretnaya have been included in the UK government’s latest sanctions list against Russia.

In a press release on Friday, the British government said the sanctions targeted “Putin’s financial network, tightening the noose on the president and his entourage.”

The UK has now sanctioned more than 1,000 individuals and 100 entities from Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, the statement said.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said:

We expose and target the shady network that supports Putin’s luxurious lifestyle… We will continue to apply sanctions to all who aid and abet Putin’s aggression until Ukraine prevails.

Kabaeva, a former Olympic gymnast who was first linked to Putin more than a decade ago, has also been included in the proposed sixth set of European Union sanctions, according to two European diplomatic sources. Putin denied having or having had a personal relationship with her.

The UK Foreign Office said Kabaeva ‘became chairman of the board of the National Media Group, believed to be Russia’s largest private media company’ and ‘previously served as a Duma deputy for Russia Putin’s United Kingdom”.

Ocheretnaya, who divorced Putin in 2014, was included in the latest UK sanctions because she has “benefited from preferential business relations with public entities” since the divorce, according to the government press release.

Others included in the UK’s latest sanctions include Putin’s first cousins, Igor Putin and Mikhail Shelomov, and the president’s first cousin once removed from office, Roman Putin.

“Today’s sanctions isolate family members and financiers deep within Putin’s inner circle, compounding the pressure on Putin as he continues his senseless invasion of Ukraine,” the press release read.

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