Alina Kabaeva (C) irumored to be the girlfriend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been sanctioned by the British government, along with his ex-wife Lyudmila Ocheretnaya and other members of his family and inner circle. File Photo by Grace Chiu/UPI | License Photo
May 13 (UPI) -- The British government on Friday sanctioned Russian President Vladimir Putin's rumored girlfriend Alina Kabaeva, along with ex-wife Lyudmila Ocheretnaya and other members of his family and inner circle.
"We are exposing and targeting the shady network propping up Putin's luxury lifestyle and tightening the vice on his inner circle," Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement announcing the sanctions.
"We will keep going with sanctions on all those aiding and abetting Putin's aggression until Ukraine prevails."
Those sanctioned, including Kabaeva and Ocheretnaya, will be subject to asset freezes and travel bans preventing them from entering Britain. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office noted that it is a criminal offense for Russian aircraft to fly or land in the country, and that Russian ships are banned.
Kabaeva, a retired Olympic gymnast, serves as the chair of the National Media Group -- reportedly the largest private Russian media company. She previously served as a deputy in the State Duma, the lower house of the national legislature.
Her grandmother, Anna Zatseplina, also was sanctioned. She is an associate of Gennady Timchenko, who was sanctioned by Britain in February for his ties to Putin.
Ocheretnaya, the former first lady of Russia, divorced Putin in 2014, but has since "benefitted from preferential business relationships with state-owned entities," according to British officials.
Other family members close to the Russian president who have been sanctioned include his first cousins Igor Putin, Roman Putin and Mikhail Shelomov -- as well as another relative, Mikhail Putin.
Supporters of Putin sanctioned Friday include his "close friend" Alexander Plekhov and several other friends and their children who have benefitted from ties to the Russian president. They are Mikhail Klishin, Vladimir Kolbin, Yuri Shamalov and Viktor Khmarin.
"Official records list modest assets for President Putin including: a small flat in St Petersburg, 2 Soviet-era cars from the 1950s, a trailer and a small garage," the statement from the Foreign Office reads.
"In reality, Putin relies on his network of family, childhood friends and selected elite who have benefited from his rule and in turn support his lifestyle. Their reward is influence over the affairs of the Russian state that goes far beyond their formal positions."
Last month, the administration of President Joe Biden announced sanctions targeting Putin's two adult daughters: Katerina Tikhonova, 35, and Maria Vorontsova, 36.
The Biden administration accused the two women of working in support of the Russian government.