EU proposes sanctions against Putin’s alleged mistress Alina Kabaeva

EU proposes sanctions against Putin’s alleged mistress Alina Kabaeva

The European Union is eyeing sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s alleged mistress Alina Kabaeva, according to government documents.

The 38-year-old former gymnast and chair of the National Media Group which owns stakes in most major Russian news outlets would be banned from entering the EU and her assets would be frozen if the sanctions are approved.

European officials are still reviewing the latest package of sanctions — the EU’s sixth round of penalties since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February — before giving their final approval.

The draft document outlining the latest round was first obtained by Agence France-Presse.

Russian tabloids have, for years, floated rumors of Ms. Kabaeva’s romantic ties to Mr. Putin.

In 2008, the now-defunct Russian newspaper Moskovsky Korrespondent reported that Mr. Putin had divorced his wife Lyudmila and planned to marry Ms. Kabaeva. The paper was shuttered days after the report.

Ms. Kabaeva, who is allegedly holed up in Switzerland, is believed to be the mother of at least three of Mr. Putin’s children and is suspected of assisting him in hiding his wealth abroad.

Putin opponents began calling for sanctions against Ms. Kabaeva in April after jailed Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny began releasing findings that he said pointed to links between Ms. Kabaeva and Mr. Putin.

Mr. Putin denies a relationship with Ms. Kabaeva.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that U.S. officials have considered sanctioning Ms. Kabaeva, though some involved feared the move could be seen as a personal affront to Mr. Putin and further escalate tensions with Russia.

Friday’s draft EU document describes Ms. Kabaeva as “closely associated with President Vladimir Putin.”

Before being named chair of the National Media Group in 2014, Ms. Kabaeva spent seven years as the ruling United Russia Party’s deputy in the State Duma.