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Putin’s secretive daughters may be the latest Russians sanctioned over the Ukraine war

April 6, 2022, 4:15 PM UTC

The European Union is turning up the heat on Russia for its war in Ukraine this week, targeting President Vladimir Putin’s daughters, along with more Russian oligarchs, with proposed sanctions. 

Putin’s adult daughters, Katerina Tikhonova, 37, and Maria Vorontsova, 36, are set to be sanctioned for benefitting from the actions of the Russian government, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

If the sanctions are approved, Tikhonova and Vorontsova, who have stayed out of the media spotlight, could see their assets seized and face a travel ban in Europe, according to a sanctions draft document.

Little is known about Putin’s daughters from his former marriage to an Aeroflot cabin crew member, Lyudmila Putina. The women keep such a low profile in Russia that many Russians don’t even know what they look like, and the Kremlin has only ever referred to them by their first names. President Putin said in an October 2020 interview with the Russian state media agency TASS that he has grandchildren through his daughters and gets “great pleasure from communicating with them” but keeps them out of the public’s view, largely for security reasons.

The EU will finalize sanctions against Putin’s daughters as soon as the end of this week following discussions among its 27 members in Brussels on Wednesday. The U.S. may follow suit, with officials telling the Wall Street Journal they also plan to add Putin’s daughters to the U.S. sanctions list.

The additional sanctions come amid reports that Russian soldiers committed “war crimes” by executing unarmed civilians near Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.

This week the EU also plans to crack down on top Russian executives who have largely escaped direct sanctions, the Financial Times reported.

Herman Gref, CEO of Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, and Alexander Shulgin, CEO of e-commerce platform Ozon, are set to be hit by sanctions after the two men attended a televised meeting with Putin in the Kremlin on the day the Ukraine invasion began.

The proposed list of individuals to be sanctioned also includes aluminum oligarch Oleg Deripaska; Vladimir Bogdanov, the director-general of Surgutneftegas, Russia’s third-largest oil producer; Said Kerimov, a majority owner of Russia’s largest gold miner, Polyus; and Boris Rotenberg, a Finnish citizen with close ties to Putin who made his fortune through Russian oil and gas contracts.

The news of these sanctions against individuals with Kremlin ties comes amid a flurry of economic sanctions against Moscow. The EU is set to approve its fifth package of sanctions against Russia this week, including measures targeting everything from advanced semiconductors to wood, cement, and seafood.

Charles Michel, president of the European Council, said in a series of tweets on Wednesday that the EU is “toughening” its sanctions to keep pressure on Russia with a broad new package that also includes a ban on coal imports, adding that measures on oil and even gas might be needed “sooner or later.”

“Russia will not win its war of choice. But crippling Kremlin’s war machine now is vital to stop the atrocities committed in Ukraine. There is no other way than seriously ramping up sanctions,” Michel wrote.

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