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Britain has sanctioned the stepdaughter of Putin’s lapdog Sergei Lavrov as part of a new raft of sanctions on string of Russian ‘oligarchs, businesses and hired thugs’.
Also among the targets of the new measures announced today are The Wagner Group mercenaries – known as ‘Putin’s private army’ and accused of trying to assassinate Volodymyr Zelensky and other senior Ukrainian politicians.
UK unveils latest wave of sanctions
ALFA-BANK JSC (Alfa-Bank)
The largest private bank in Russia. Separate from Alfa-Bank (Ukraine) which has not been sanctioned.
The world’s largest diamond mining company, based in Mirny, Russia and with a market cap estimated at £4.69billion.
Eugene Markovich Shvidler
A billionaire businessman with close business links to Roman Abramovich. His net worth is reportedly £1.2billion.
Founder of Tinkoff Bank. His net worth is estimated at £3.4billion.
Chief Executive Officer of Sberbank, the largest Russian bank. A former minister under Putin who worked with him in the St Petersburg Government in the 1990s.
Oleg E Aksyutin
The Deputy Chairman of the Management Board at Gazprom PJSC, the Russian multinational energy corporation.
First Vice President of Rosneft, the Russian State oil company.
Deputy Chairman of the Management Board and First Vice President for Oil, Gas, and Offshore Business Development of Rosneft
Installed as ‘mayor’ of Melitopol by Russian authorities. This first individual sanctioned for collaborating with the Russian military in Ukraine.
Stepdaughter of Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov. She reportedly owns a £4million property in London.
The new sanctions cover individuals including billionaire oil tycoon Eugene Shvidler, founder of Tinkoff bank Oleg Tinkov, Herman Gref, and Polina Kovaleva, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s alleged stepdaughter.
Britain’s Foreign Office has claimed that targeting Polina ‘sends a strong signal that those benefiting from association of those responsible for Russian aggression are in scope of our sanctions’.
NATO leaders are gathering in Brussels today to discuss the Ukraine War, while Putin’s forces advance appears to be increasingly stalled after invading 26 days ago.
Arriving at the summit this morning, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: ‘We’ve got to tighten the economic vice around Putin, sanctioning more people today, as we are, sanctioning the Wagner Group, looking at what we can do to stop Putin using his gold reserves, and also doing more to help the Ukrainians defend themselves.’
The most prominent target of the sanctions is Imperial College graduate Polina Kovaleva, a glamorous 26-year-old who lives in a £4million home in Kensington.
Polina went to a private boarding school in Bristol before gaining a first-class degree in economics with politics at Loughborough University and later completing a masters in economics and strategy for business at Imperial College London.
She went on to work for Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, where she helped with mergers and acquisitions and later worked at Glencore, the mining company. Before buying her own home, she lived in Holland Park, west London, in an apartment in a townhouse that is owned by the Russian embassy.
Records show that the nearby Ukrainian embassy alleged Russia had wrongly claimed ownership of the property.
Polina now lives in an apartment, which Land Registry documents state she purchased for £4.4million with no mortgage in 2016, when she was 21, in a block just off Kensington High Street. It is still unknown who paid for Polina’s flat. She shares the apartment with a man, believed to be her partner, who also has a 10 per cent stake in the investment company she now runs.
The property is part of an award-winning development offering a swimming pool, gym, spa, cinema, golf simulator, games room and views across Kensington and Holland Park.
Polina’s mother is reported to be Svetlana Polyakova, 51, a powerful member of the Russian Foreign Ministry who accompanies Lavrov on every foreign trip and has had a relationship since the early 2000s. It is rumoured that she is Lavrov’s unofficial wife.
In a statement, Britain’s foreign secretary Liz Truss said: ‘These oligarchs, businesses and hired thugs are complicit in the murder of innocent civilians and it is right that they pay the price. Putin should be under no illusions – we are united with our allies and will keep tightening the screw on the Russian economy to help ensure he fails in Ukraine. There will be no let-up.
‘All those sanctioned today will have their assets in the UK frozen which means no UK citizen or company can do business with them, and individuals subject to travel bans are also prohibited from travelling to or from the UK.
‘Today’s sanctions will bring the total global asset value of the banks the UK has sanctioned since the invasion to £500billion and the net worth of the oligarchs and family members in excess of £150billion.
Britain has sanctioned the stepdaughter of Putin’s lapdog Sergei Lavrov, Imperial College graduate Polina Kovaleva
She went on to work for Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, where she helped with mergers and acquisitions and later worked at Glencore, the mining company
Land Registry documents show Polina purchased an apartment (pictured above) in Kensington, west London, for £4.4million with no mortgage in 2016, when she was aged just 21
Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson deep in conversation at the NATO summit today
NATO heads of states stand together for a family picture at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, March 24, 2022
Polina’s mother is reported to be Svetlana Polyakova, 51, with whom Lavrov has had a relationship since the early 2000s and is said to be his unofficial wife
Risk of Putin being deposed by security service coup ‘is growing every week amid chaos engulfing the Kremlin in the wake of the botched Ukraine war’, whistleblower claims
Vladimir Putin’s risk of being deposed by a Russian security-service led coup is growing every week, a whistleblower has claimed.
Chaos and discontent over Russia’s botched invasion of Ukraine has grown within the ranks of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), and Putin’s position at the head of the Kremlin is growing increasingly unstable, the source claimed.
When Russia unleashed its invasion on February 24, a swift toppling of Ukraine’s democratically elected government seemed likely. But with Wednesday marking four full weeks of fighting, Russia is bogged down in a grinding military campaign.
Speaking to The Times, Vladimir Osechkin – a man wanted for his work exposing abuse in Russia’s prisons – has shared updates from a source within the FSB that suggests anger towards Putin is mounting.
The Russian president is said to blame the FSB for the failure to quickly take control of the country. FSB officers meanwhile are becoming disillusioned with increasingly oppressive sanctions imposed by the West on Russia, and are growing frustrated.
Citing his source, Osechkin told the newspaper that this has meant the country’s high-flying secret service agents have been prevented from travelling to their holiday homes or have been unable to ‘take their kids to Disneyland Paris’
‘The provisions brought in by the Economic Crime Act have streamlined the previous legislation so the UK can respond even more swiftly and effectively to the current crisis. The government will continue to tighten the screw and use sanctions to degrade the Russian economy on a scale that the Kremlin, or any major economy, has never seen before.
‘The UK has led the international sanctions effort, cutting off whole sectors of the Russian economy by targeting its defence companies, its trade and transport sector, and working with allies to exclude Russia from the SWIFT financial system.’
The sanctions also targeted Russian Railways, and defence company Kronshtadt, the main producer of Russian drones. Private military contractor Wagner Group has also been sanctioned.
They were among 59 individuals and entities added to the sanctions list which has been used to target Moscow since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Gazprombank is one of main channels for payments for Russian oil and gas. Alfa-Bank is one of Russia’s top private lenders, controlled by Mikhail Fridman, who was sanctioned by Britain earlier this month, and his partners.
Among the individuals sanctioned were oil tycoon Evgeny Shvidler, founder of Tinkoff bank Oleg Tinkov and German Gref, the CEO of Russia’s largest bank Sberbank, the Foreign Office said.
Maria Pevchikh, the head of investigations at Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, said that Lavrov and Polyakova had been together for ‘around two decades’.
Questioning where Polina got the money to buy her apartment, Pevchikh said: ‘Polina’s biological dad isn’t superrich. She doesn’t have an oligarch husband. Yet aged 21, she bought a prestigious apartment on Kensington High Street for £4.4 million, and her lifestyle is like a “non-stop holiday”.’
Polina’s mother also enjoys ‘substantial assets’ that a Foreign Ministry apparatchik would almost certainly not be able to afford.
Property records show that she and her family own real estate in Russia and Great Britain worth about 1 billion rubles.
At the time this was worth $13.6million, although the ruble has since collapsed due to the debilitating war in Ukraine.
Lavrov is married to philologist wife Maria, and the couple have a daughter Ekaterina, 40, who was raised mainly in the US where he was posted as a diplomat. Despite this, Lavrov has been seen on foreign trips accompanied by Polyakova, who sometimes uses the female form of his surname, Lavrova.
Pevchikh said Polyakova and her daughter should have their assets frozen along with oligarchs such as Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and Oleg Deripaska. Her calls were backed by Labour MP Chris Bryant.
MPs had questioned why the Government’s list was still dwarfed by the hundreds of individuals and entities sanctioned by the EU and the US.
The Wagner group (file picture) and Chechen special forces have allegedly been trying to kill the Ukrainian president since Russian troops launched a savage invasion of Ukraine on February 24
Vladimir Putin’s risk of being deposed by a Russian security-service led coup is growing every week, a whistleblower has claimed today. Pictured: Putin (second left) at a a gala even in November 2018 along-side senior Russian military figures
Destroyed buildings and a military vehicle are seen as civilians being evacuated along humanitarian corridors from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol under the control of Russian military and pro-Russian separatists, on March 21, 2022
Pictured: A shopping mall lies in ruins after a Russian missile strike of the Russian troops in the Podilskyi district of Kyiv on March 23, 2022
Layla Moran MP, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for foreign affairs and international development, told the Daily Telegraph: ‘The Government is still way behind the EU and the US. The legislation hasn’t passed yet, so if they can act against Abramovich now, why not the others?’.
Moran called for action against 35 named ‘key enablers’ of Putin in the House of Commons last month, many of whom have been sanctioned in the EU or US but not in the UK.
This includes Viktor Zolotov, the head of Russia’s national guard whose family is one of the richest in Russia in the real estate sector; Anton Vaino, Putin’s chief of staff; and Mikhail Mishustin, the Russian prime minister.
Moran said that officials should also look at ‘the family and friends’ of Putin’s associates, as ‘one of the ways that they get around sanctions is to transfer funds and assets to family members’.
‘They should be included in the list and ideally it should be automatic,’ she said.