Washington (CNN) — The US Treasury Department sanctioned the alleged girlfriend of the Russian presidentVladimir Putin, as part of a series of measures targeting Russian elites in the Biden administration’s latest attempt to punish the Kremlin for its ongoing war in Ukraine.
Alina Maratovna Kabaeva, who has been romantically linked to the Russian leader, was sanctioned “for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive or member of the board of directors of the Government of the Russian Federation,” according to a Treasury Department statement.
That statement describes Kabaeva, 39, as having “a close relationship with Putin.” She is a former member of the State Duma “and is the current head of the National Media Group, a pro-Kremlin empire of television, radio and printing organizations.”
In April, the Wall Street Journal reported that the US was considering sanctioning Kabaeva, but there were concerns that such a move would inflame tensions given her proximity to Putin.
Kabaeva was previously sanctioned by the European Union and the United Kingdom.
Separately, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced sanctions against three oligarchs, a Russian state-owned company supervised by the Ministry of Transportation, “four individuals and one entity operating illegitimately on the territory of Ukraine in collaboration with Russia”, and against 24 Russian entities related to defense and technology.
The United States is also imposing visa restrictions on 893 Russian Federation officials and “31 foreign government officials who have acted in support of Russia’s alleged annexation of the Crimean region of Ukraine and thereby threatened or violated Ukraine’s sovereignty,” Blinken said.
Many of the designations announced by the US target oligarchs who were previously sanctioned by allies such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the European Union. These sanctions come as the war in Ukraine has entered its sixth month.
“While innocent people suffer from Russia’s illegal war of aggression, Putin’s allies have enriched themselves and financed opulent lifestyles,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement. “The Treasury Department will use every tool at its disposal to ensure that Russian elites and Kremlin enablers are held accountable for their complicity in a war that has cost countless lives.”
The oligarchs sanctioned by the State Department on Tuesday are Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko, Alexander Anatolevich Ponomarenko and Dmitry Aleksandrovich Pumpyanskiy. The AXIOMA yacht was identified as blocked property in which Pumpyanskiy has an interest, the State Department said in a fact sheet.
According to that fact sheet, Ponomarenko “is an oligarch with close ties to other oligarchs and the construction of Vladimir Putin’s seaside palace” that has previously been sanctioned by the UK, EU, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Among the oligarchs sanctioned by the Treasury Department on Tuesday is Andrey Grigoryevich Guryev, the Russian billionaire founder of the “PhosAgro” chemical company and a former government official described by the Treasury as “a known close associate” of Putin. He is also sanctioned by the UK and, according to the US Treasury, “owns the Witanhurst estate, which is the second largest estate in London after Buckingham Palace.”
The Treasury Department on Tuesday identified the Alfa Nero yacht, allegedly owned by AG Guryev, as blocked property.
AG Guryev’s son, Andrey Andreevich Guryev, was also sanctioned by the US on Tuesday, after previously being sanctioned by Australia, Canada, the European Union, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, as was his investment firm Dzhi AI Invest OOO.
Natalya Valeryevna Popova was sanctioned “for operating or having operated in the technological sector of the economy of the Russian Federation, and for being or having been a leader, officer, senior executive or member of the board of directors of LLC VEB Ventures”, which is a sanctioned entity. She was also sanctioned for being the wife of Kirill Aleksandrovich Dmitriev, general director of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). Both he and the RDIF were sanctioned in the days after the start of the war.
The Joint Stock Company Promising Industrial and Infrastructure Technologies, “a financial institution owned by the Russian Federal Agency for State Property Management,” and its CEO, Anton Sergeevich Urusov, were sanctioned on Tuesday in connection with alleged sanctions evasion. .
According to the Treasury Department, “JSC PPIT attempted to facilitate circumvention of the sanctions imposed on the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).”
The Treasury Department sanctioned Publichnoe Aktsionernoe Obschestvo Magnitogorskiy Metallurgicheskiy Kombinat (MMK), described as “one of the world’s largest steel producers,” and its board chairman, Viktor Filippovich Rashnikov—who has also been sanctioned by Australia, Canada and the EU, Switzerland and the UK—and two of MMK’s subsidiaries.
“MMK is one of Russia’s largest taxpayers and provides a substantial source of revenue to the Government of the Russian Federation,” the Treasury Department said. The agency has authorized a settlement period for transactions with MMK and one of its subsidiaries.