Britain slaps sanctions on Putin's rumored girlfriend and his ex-wife

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Britain connected Friday sanctioned 12 members of Russian President Vladimir Putin's "inner circle," accusing them of hiding his ill-gotten riches successful instrumentality for influential authorities positions.

They included his ex-wife Lyudmila Ocheretnaya and his rumored girlfriend, Alina Kabaeva, a 38-year-old erstwhile Olympic gymnast.

The U.K. authorities said she was "alleged to person a adjacent idiosyncratic narration with Putin."

"We are exposing and targeting the shady web propping up Putin's luxury lifestyle, and tightening the vice connected his interior circle," Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said successful a statement.

"We volition support going with sanctions connected each those aiding and abetting Putin's aggression until Ukraine prevails," she said.

The Kremlin leader's humble authorities wage and officially declared assets are belied by reports linking him to a luxury yacht and a sprawling spot dubbed "Putin's Palace," the U.K. said.

His existent wealthiness is hidden by a web of family, puerility friends and selected members of the Russian elite who've been appointed to almighty roles "in instrumentality for their undying loyalty."

Others sanctioned Friday included cousins of Putin and Alexander Plekhov, a "close friend" who controls the Vital Development Corp.

Britain said it had present sanctioned much than 1,000 individuals and 100 Russian entities, including oligarchs worthy much than $140 billion, since Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine successful precocious February.

Russia Kabayeva November 2004 photograph shows Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking with Alina Kabaeva astatine a Kremlin banquet successful Moscow. ITAR-TASS/AP

The Wall Street Journal reported late past period that U.S. officials were holding disconnected connected sanctioning Kabaeva due to the fact that the measurement was seen arsenic excessively drastic.

The paper cited unnamed officials arsenic saying the 2016 investigation into Russia's interference successful U.S. statesmanlike elections revealed that Kabaeva had benefited from Putin's power and idiosyncratic wealth. The U.S. authorities suspected Kabaeva of concealing immoderate of that wealthiness abroad, the Journal reported, adding that American officials besides judge her to beryllium the parent of astatine slightest 3 of Putin's children.

Possible sanctions against Kabaeva were yet halted, however, since the measurement was considered "so idiosyncratic a stroke to Mr. Putin that it could further escalate tensions betwixt Russia and the U.S.," the Journal wrote.

Rumors person circulated for years astir Kabaeva's idiosyncratic narration with the Russian leader. Russian tabloids person dubbed her "Russia's First Mistress" and adjacent the "Secret First Lady."

In: Ukraine Russia