US officials have so far kept Vladimir Putin’s rumored longtime mistress, ex-Olympic gymnast Alina Kabaeva, sway from the sanctions’ hook, following the Ukraine invasion.
The 69-year-old Putin has never publicly addressed his relationship with Kabaeva. However, police believe that Kabaeva is also the mother of at least three of the Russian leader’s children that haven’t been revealed to the public. This cannot be independently confirmed.
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Kabaeva is believed to be involved in the Kremlin’s effort to hide the true scale of Putin’s wealth and international assets. The US Treasury Department officials went as far as to prepare a sanctions package targeting Kabaeva as the measure was seen as too drastic, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday. It was considered “so personal a blow to Mr. Putin that it could further escalate tensions between Russia and the U.S.,” the Journal wrote.
Few details are available about Kabaeva, including some saying she lives in Switzerland. In March, just days after Russia invaded Ukraine, Page Six reported that Kabaeva was in Switzerland with her and Putin’s four young children.
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“While Putin carries out his assault on the Ukraine, attacking innocent citizens and causing a refugee crisis, his family is holed up in a very private and very secure chalet somewhere in Switzerland — for now, at least,” a source told Page Six.
Kabaeva is popular for being a well-known rhythmic gymnast in her athletic heyday – winning two Olympic medals, including gold at the 2004 games in Athens, Greece. She was once dubbed “Russia’s most flexible woman.”
Kabaeva’s ties to Putin first surfaced in 2008, when now-defunct Russian newspaper Moskovsky Korrespondent reported Putin had divorced his wife and was engaged to the ex-gymnast.
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But, Putin slammed rumors about his alleged relationship with Kabaeva.
“I have a private life in which I do not permit interference. It must be respected,” Putin said at the time. “I have always reacted negatively to those who with their snotty noses and erotic fantasies prowl into others’ lives.”
The Biden administration hasn’t entirely ruled out implementing sanctions against Kabaeva in the future.
“We have prepared sanctions on a number of people who haven’t yet been sanctioned, and we continue to think about when to impose those sanctions for maximum impact,” a US official told the Wall Street Journal.