Putin humiliated as alleged girlfriend with Russian media connections sanctioned by US

Putin 'eating handily' into Russian reserves to prop up country

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It comes as a series of measures targeting Russian elites as part of the Biden administration’s attempts to punish the Kremlin for the ongoing war in Ukraine.Ms Kabaeva who has been romantically linked to the Russian President was sanctioned “for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of the Government of the Russian Federation”, according to the Treasury Department.

The statement describes Ms Kabaeva as having a “close relationship to Putin”.

She is also a former member of the State Duma for the pro Putin United Russia party as well as being the current head of the National Media Group, a pro-Kremlin empire of television, radio, and print organisations.

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

In April the Wall Street Journal reported that the US was considering sanctioning Ms Kabaeva but there were concerns that it could inflame tensions given her alleged close links to Putin.

Ms Kabaeva is also a retired rhythmic gymnast winning bronze in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

It comes as the US Treasury Department has also announced sanctions against several more oligarchs including a major steel production company and two of its subsidiaries along with a financial institution accused of running a sanctions evasion operation and its general director, reported CNN.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement that Putin’s allies had “enriched themselves” as “innocent people suffer” from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

She said: “As innocent people suffer from Russia’s illegal war of aggression, Putin’s allies have enriched themselves and funded opulent lifestyles. 

“The Treasury Department will use every tool at our disposal to make sure that Russian elites and the Kremlin’s enablers are held accountable for their complicity in a war that has cost countless lives.”

The oligarchs sanctioned by the State Department on Tuesday are Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko, Alexander Anatolevich Ponomarenko, and Dmitry Aleksandrovich Pumpyanskiy.

The yacht AXIOMA was identified as blocked property in which Mr Pumpyanskiy has an interest, the State Department said in a fact sheet.

According to the fact sheet, Mr Ponomarenko “is an oligarch with close ties to other oligarchs and the construction of Vladimir Putin’s seaside palace”. 

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He has previously been sanctioned by the UK, EU, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Andrey Grigoryevich was another of the oligarchs sanctioned by the Treasury Department.

Mr Grigoryevich is a billionaire and founder of the chemical company ‘PhosAgro’ and described as “a known close associate” of Putin.

In a separate series of sanctions US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that three oligarchs linked to state-owned companies overseen by the Ministry of Transportation were being targeted.

The US is also imposing visa restrictions on 893 Russian Federation officials along with “31 foreign government officials who have acted to support Russia’s purported annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine and thereby threatened or violated Ukraine’s sovereignty”.

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