- The United States initially held back from sanctioning Putin’s alleged girlfriend out of caution, the WSJ reported.
- Officials were concerned that sanctioning Alina Kabaeva would be seen as too personal a punishment, according to the report.
- Kabaeva, who has been linked to Putin since 2008, could still be punished, according to the report.
US officials have suspended sanction proposals from Alina Kabaeva, the alleged girlfriend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, fearing it will feel like too personal an escalation in US-Russian relations, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Kavbaeva, 38, is a potential target for upcoming sanctions. But in earlier deliberations, his sanctions package was shelved at the last minute, The Journal reported, citing unnamed officials.
The United States has imposed sweeping sanctions on hundreds of Russian individuals since Putin invaded Ukraine. On April 6, President Joe Biden’s administration announced sanctions against Putin’s family, including his adult daughters Katerina Tikhonova and Maria Vorontsova.
Like Kabaeva, Tikhonova and Vorontsova are suspected of helping Putin hide his wealth outside of Russia.
But the United States remained on guard in sanctioning Kabaeva because officials believed it would hit Putin too personally and could escalate the conflict, The Journal reported.
She was rumored to have had at least two children with Putin, MailOnline reported. Putin and Kabaeva have long denied having a relationship.
Kabaeva, a former gymnast, media executive and politician, has been linked to the Russian president since 2008, when Russian newspaper Moskovsky Korrespondent reported that Putin was secretly engaged to her, according to Radio Free Europe. The paper closed shortly after the report, The New York Times reported.
She has won two Olympic medals, 14 World Championship medals and 21 European Championship medals. After retiring from sports, she joined the Russian government as a pro-Putin deputy in the State Duma until 2014.
Georgy Alburov, a Russian activist who works with imprisoned anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny, called for Kabaeva to be punished on April 6.
In her work as chairwoman of the board of the Russian National Media Group, she is “literally fueling this war”, Alburov said. tweeted.
On Saturday, Kabaeva made a rare public appearance, her first since the invasion of Ukraine. She was pictured at a festival held in her name at Moscow’s VTB Arena, Newsweek reported.
Kabaeva is rumored to live in Switzerland. In late March, after Switzerland abandoned its neutrality status to impose sanctions on Russia, a widely circulated petition called on the Swiss government to expel it, the Independent reported.