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UK target’s Sergey Lavrov’s ‘stepdaughter’ Polina Kovaleva in new round of sanctions

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ladimir Putin’s private army and a billionaire business partner of Roman Abramovich are among 65 new Russia-linked individuals and organisations being sanctioned, the Government announced on Thursday.

Polina Kovaleva, the defacto stepdaughter of the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who owns a £4.4million luxury flat in Kensington, was among those who will have their assets frozen, the Foreign Office said.

Kovaleva is the 26-year-old daughter of Lavrov and his alleged mistress Svetlana Polyakova.

Billionaire Eugene Markovich Shvidler, who has business links to Chelsea owner Mr Abramovich, will also be subject to financial penalties.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged new sanctions – including against the paramilitary Wagner Group seen as the Russian President’s private army – as he urged allies to “step up” defensive support to counter the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Polina Kovaleva

/ Polina Kovaleva / East2west News

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the latest round of penalties will hit “oligarchs, businesses and hired thugs complicit in the murder of innocent civilians”.

Russia’s largest private bank Alfa-Bank; Alrosa, the world’s largest diamond mining company; the billionaire founder of Tinkoff Bank Oleg Tinkov and the deputy chairman of Gazprom energy company Oleg Aksyutin will also have assets frozen in the UK.

Ms Truss said: “Putin should be under no illusions – we are united with our allies and will keep tightening the screw on the Russian economy to help ensure he fails in Ukraine. There will be no let-up.

“All those sanctioned today will have their assets in the UK frozen which means no UK citizen or company can do business with them, and individuals subject to travel bans are also prohibited from travelling to or from the UK.

“Today’s sanctions will bring the total global asset value of the banks the UK has sanctioned since the invasion to £500bn and the net worth of the oligarchs and family members in excess of £150bn.”

The Prime Minister is using a Nato emergency summit in Brussels on Thursday to commit to a new package to shore up Ukrainian forces, including 6,000 more missiles.

Speaking to broadcasters after landing in Belgium, Mr Johnson said: “Vladimir Putin is plainly determined to double down on his path of violence and aggression.”

Describing Mr Putin’s treatment of Ukrainians as “absolutely brutal”, he added: “We’ve got to step up. We’ve got to increase our support. We’ve got to tighten the economic vice around Putin, sanctioning more people today, as we are, sanctioning the Wagner Group, looking at what we can do to stop Putin using his gold reserves, and also doing more to help the Ukrainians defend themselves.

“We’re moving, really, from a programme of supporting resistance to supporting the Ukrainian defence of their own country.”

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