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UK sanctions Putin’s rumored mistress

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rumored mistress, Alina Kabaeva, is among the targets of a new round of sanctions announced by U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Friday aimed at Putin’s inner circle.

Why it matters: The U.K.’s decision to sanction Kabaeva, a former Olympic gymnast, comes several weeks after U.S. officials made a “last-minute” decision to exclude her from U.S. sanctions for fear of further escalating tensions between the U.S. and Moscow, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The big picture: The new sanctions are intended to hit people close to Putin who help support his lavish lifestyle and regime through their positions of power, per the press release.

Kabaeva is chair of the board of Russia’s New Media Group, believed to be the largest Russian private media company. Kabaeva’s grandmother, Anna Zatseplina, has also been sanctioned, as has Lyudmila Ocheretnaya, Putin’s ex-wife, who benefits from favorable business relationships with state-owned companies.Igor Putin, the director of Pechenga International Sea Port and President Putin’s first cousin, is also on the list, among more distant family members.

What they’re saying: “We are exposing and targeting the shady network propping up Putin’s luxury lifestyle and tightening the vice on his inner circle,” Truss said in a statement.

“We will keep going with sanctions on all those aiding and abetting Putin’s aggression until Ukraine prevails.”

Zoom out: Putin’s family members have been targets of international sanctions before. Last month the U.S. sanctioned Putin’s two adult daughters.

Go deeper… Live updates: Russian invasion of Ukraine