Putin's rumored mistress Alina Kabaeva faces US sanctions for 'complicity in war'
The 39-year-old former rhythmic gymnast was described as having 'a close relationship to Putin'
Russian President Vladimir Putin's alleged girlfriend, Alina Maratovna Kabaeva, was included in the United States' latest round of sanctions against the country Tuesday, August 2.
Kabaeva, who has been romantically linked to the Russian strongman for the longest time, was sanctioned "for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of the Government of the Russian Federation," per a Treasury Department statement. The former rhythmic gymnast, 39, was described as having "a close relationship to Putin." The statement noted that 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 print organizations."
Kabaeva, who is allegedly the mother to at least three of Putin's children, has previously been sanctioned by the United Kingdom and European Union. The Wall Street Journal reported in April that the US was considering sanctioning her but there were concerns that the move would heighten tensions due to her close proximity to Putin. That said, the Treasury Department also announced sanctions against a number of Russian oligarchs, a major steel production company and two of its subsidiaries, as well as a financial institution that allegedly ran a sanctions evasion operation and its general director.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced separate sanctions on three oligarchs, a Russian state-owned company overseen by the Ministry of Transportation, "four individuals and one entity illegitimately operating in Ukraine's territory in collaboration with Russia," and 24 Russian defense and technology-related entities, according to CNN. Blinken said the US was also imposing visa restrictions on 893 Russian Federation officials and "31 foreign government officials who have acted to support Russia's purported annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine and thereby threatened or violated Ukraine's sovereignty."
Rebekah Koffler, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and author of 'Putin's Playbook: Russia's Secret Plan to Defeat America,' said the sanctions could potentially hurt Putin's finances but that his interest in Ukraine overshadowed any economic considerations. "Sanctioning Kabayeva will have some impact on Putin’s personal finances because he is keeping his fortunes spread out among the bank accounts of closest friends and family. But Putin is possibly the richest person in the world, possibly wealthier than Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, or Elon Musk, with his wealth ranging from $100 billion to $200 billion," Koffler told Fox News. "So sanctioning his girlfriend and mother of several of his children will almost certainly do nothing to change his policy and strategy towards Ukraine, the United States, or the West."
That said, a number of people in Putin's inner circle have been hit with sanctions in recent months, including his adult daughters Mariya Putina and Katerina Tikhonova. "As innocent people suffer from Russia’s illegal war of aggression, Putin’s allies have enriched themselves and funded opulent lifestyles," Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Tuesday, August 2. "The Treasury Department will use every tool at our disposal to make sure that Russian elites and the Kremlin’s enablers are held accountable for their complicity in a war that has cost countless lives," she added.