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EU targeting Putin’s 2 daughters – here’s what we know

Russia's President Vladimir Putin. (Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS/Abaca Press/TNS)
April 05, 2022

The European Union (E.U.) is reportedly planning to target Russian President Vladimir Putin’s two daughters in new measures this week to punish Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

The E.U. plan would entail sanctioning Putin’s two daughters, according to diplomats familiar with the plan who spoke with the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg on Tuesday. The individual sanctions are among dozens of proposed punitive moves against Russia, which would include freezing the assets of various Russian business figures and banning certain travel.

It’s unclear what assets of Putin’s daughters’ would be at risk under the proposed E.U. sanctions, making the sanctions a largely symbolic move. Bloomberg reported the daughters’ lives are shrouded in secrecy and they use different maiden names. The Kremlin has also never confirmed their names or released photographs of them as adults, though Bloomberg reported they are named Maria Vorontsova and Katerina Tikhonova.

In 2015, Putin disclosed a few details about his daughters, including that they graduated from Russian universities and speak multiple languages.

Vorontsova is reportedly co-owner of Nomenko, a business involved in investment in Russia’s private healthcare industry. Tikhonova reportedly runs an artificial intelligence institute at Moscow State University. 

The reported E.U. sanctions would just be the latest in a series of dozens of sanctions launched against Russia since it began its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. The U.S. even took the rare move of imposing sanctions directly targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. On March 8, President Joe Biden ordered a ban on the import of Russian oil and gas within the U.S.

The U.S. has also targeted Russian businessmen by seizing their assets. On Monday, U.S. federal agents and Spanish law enforcement officials boarded and seized a yacht belonging to Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, a longtime Putin associate. The U.S. DOJ said Vekselberg’s yacht had an estimated $90 million value.

Targeting family members is not a new development in the ongoing tit-for-tat sanction battle between the U.S. and Russia. Last month, Putin responded to U.S. sanctions by personally sanctioning President Biden and his son Hunter Biden, along with other current and former U.S. officials.

In addition to sanctioning Russia, both the U.S. and Europe have sided with Ukraine by sending military equipment to their forces. Ukraine has employed hundreds of U.S. and western-designed anti-tank and anti-aircraft missile launchers against Russian equipment.

Poland previously proposed a plan to transfer its older Soviet-designed MiG fighter jets to NATO. The plan entailed NATO transferring those fighters to Ukraine —whose airforce currently uses them — while backfilling Poland with equivalent western-produced fighter jets. The U.S. ultimately rejected the proposal, saying it risked further escalations in the conflict.