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Europe places Vladimir Putin’s alleged lover on the sanctions list

June 3, 2022, 2:20 PM UTC

Vladimir Putin’s alleged lover has been targeted as part of the sixth package of economic sanctions by the European Union.

Former Russian gymnast and ex-member of parliament Alina Kabaeva is the latest person to be placed on the official sanctions list in retaliation for Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression against neighboring Ukraine. 

The EU cited her position as the chair of the board of directors for the National Media Group, Russia’s largest private media holding, which owns major stakes in almost all Russian federal media that disseminate government propaganda. 

“She is therefore responsible for supporting actions and policies which undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of Ukraine,” read the EU’s Official Journal on Friday, adding that she is “closely associated” with Putin.

Born in Tashkent in what was then the Soviet republic of Uzbekistan in May 1983, Kabaeva is a former Olympic gold medalist who was once named “Russia’s most flexible woman.” 

Widely known in her home country, she was chosen as one of the torchbearers when Russia hosted the Winter Games in Sochi in 2014, shortly before Putin invaded Crimea.

She holds 21 European Championship medals and 14 World Championship medals in addition to her two Olympic medals. 

A petition posted on Change.org by Russians, Belorussians and Ukrainians claims Kabaeva is in hiding in Switzerland. 

It is there, in the Italian-speaking area around Ticino, that she reportedly gave birth to at least two illegitimate children of Putin, although this has never been confirmed.

The petition’s nearly 75,000 signatories demand the alpine nation’s authorities deport her back to Russia: “It’s time you reunite Eva Braun with her Führer.”

More recently, however, she was spotted in Moscow.

Kabaeva had until recently escaped scrutiny, as targeting her was initially deemed too drastic a move. Kremlin officials deny any relationship between her and Putin to begin with.

Only recently did she make the list, as Europe escalates sanctions in an attempt to expedite an end to the war. The U.K. already did the same last month.

As part of the sixth package of measures drafted to punish the Kremlin, the EU is also placing an embargo on nearly 90% of all crude and refined oil imported from Russia.

Other officials targeted for sanctions include the wife and children of Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, as well as Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, the head of Russia’s National Defense Control Center, who has been nicknamed the Butcher of Mariupol. 

A further 45 senior military personnel were also included for their role in the war crimes committed in Bucha.

Absent from the list, however, was the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Patriarch Kirill was originally expected to make the list but was removed at the last second thanks to a last-minute intervention by Hungarian prime minister and Putin ally Viktor Orbán.

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