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British officials impound private jet believed to be used by wealthy Russian oligarch

A protester holds up a photo of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky outside the Russian Embassy in Washington on Tuesday. Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

March 9 (UPI) -- A private jet believed to be used by wealthy Russian oligarch Eugene Shvidler has been impounded at an airport in Britain just hours before it was scheduled to fly, officials said Wednesday.

British authorities seized the jet in Hampshire county under new aviation sanctions against Russia for the war in Ukraine, which bar Russian planes from British airspace. Hampshire county is located just southwest of London.

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British transportation secretary Grant Shapps said on Wednesday that the plane is being held while officials investigate its connection to Shvidler, and that it's registered in Luxembourg.

All private and commercial Russian flights are barred from British airspace, and the ban also applies to Russian chartered aircraft.

Shvidler, a billionaire Russian oil magnate, is said to be a friend of Chelsea soccer team owner Roman Abramovich, who is a close acquaintance of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Abramovich has begun the process of selling the soccer club due to mounting pressure related to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

The impounded jet, a Bombardier Global 6500, landed at Farnborough Airport earlier this month and was scheduled to depart for Dubai on Tuesday before it was seized.

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European Union leaders attend a summit at the Chateau de Versailles near Paris on March 11, 2022. Photo by the European Union/ UPI | License Photo

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