Putin's girlfriend Alina Kabaeva talks about her baby daughter
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The US government imposed sanctions on Alina Kabaeva, a former Olympic gymnast, earlier this week. The Treasury claimed the 39-year-old, who is rumoured to be Putin’s girlfriend and mother to his children, had a “close relationship” with the Russian leader. Putin has always denied that they are romantically linked or that he has two children with her.
Speaking about the latest package of sanctions, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said: “As innocent people suffer from Russia’s illegal war of aggression, Putin’s allies have enriched themselves and funded opulent lifestyles
“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.”
The UK, EU and Canada imposed sanctions on Ms Kabaeva earlier this year.
Announcing the sanctions, the EU said: “Alina Kabaeva is the Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the National Media Group (NMG), a holding that owns large stakes in almost all major Russian federal media that reproduce the Russian Government propaganda.
“She is a former Russian gymnast and a former member of the State Duma.
“She is closely associated with President Vladimir Putin.”
Ms Kabaeva is originally from Uzbekistan.
She won a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, before later spending more than six years as a lawmaker in Putin’s United Russia party.
She took over as chairperson of Russia’s New Media Group – the country’s largest private media company – in May 2022.
The latest move against Russia from the US has only served to inflame tensions between the two countries.
The sanctions came on the same day that Russia accused the US of playing a direct role in the Ukraine war.
A spokesperson for Moscow’s defence ministry, Lt Gen Igor Konashenkov, alleged the US was approving targets for American-made Himars rocket systems, which are used by Kyiv’s forces.
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He said intercepted calls between Ukrainian officials revealed the link.
Mr Konashenkov said: “It is the Biden administration that is directly responsible for all rocket attacks approved by Kyiv on residential areas and civilian infrastructure facilities in settlements of Donbas and other regions that caused mass deaths of civilians.”
Ukraine has denied the US was providing direct targeting information.
A spokesperson for the Pentagon said it provided Ukraine with “detailed, time-sensitive information to help them understand the threats they face and defend their country against Russian aggression”.
Russia has previously accused the US of engaging in a “proxy” war with Ukraine.
Speaking in April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the country’s decision to supply Ukraine with billions of dollars worth of arms meant that “NATO, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy”.
He added: “War means war.”
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