The latest target for Britain’s economic sanctions against Russia is Polina Kovaleva, the glamorous “stepdaughter” of Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.
Ms Kovaleva, 26, lives in a £4million flat in a luxury development in Kensington, west London.
She maintained a regular diary of her lavish lifestyle on Instagram, but deleted her account shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Supporters of Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption activist currently jailed in Russia for his criticism of Putin, claimed that Ms Kovaleva’s mother has for many years been the mistress and “unofficial wife” of Sergey Lavrov and questioned how her daughter had been able to afford such a luxury lifestyle in London.
Ms Kovaleva is known to have attended an exclusive private boarding school in Bristol before gaining a first-class degree in economics with politics at Loughborough University.
She later studied economics and strategy for business at Imperial College London.
She went on to work for Gazprom, Russian’s state-owned energy corporation, where she is believed to have worked on mergers and acquisitions.
She was later employed at multinational mining company Glencore.
Before buying her own home, Ms Kovaleva lived in London’s exclusive Holland Park area, in a townhouse owned by the Russian embassy.
Investigator Maria Pevchikh said Ms Kovaleva's only source of income is her unemployed mother "who happens to be Lavrov’s informal wife". She said it was a textbook example of unexplained wealth.
The new sanctions cover several other high net worth individuals such as billionaire oil tycoon Eugene Shvidler, banker Oleg Tinkov, Sberbank CEO Herman Gref, and the infamous Wagner Group – the mercenary army that has fought proxy wars for Putin all over the world.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss warned the Kremlin that there would more sanctions to come.
“These oligarchs, businesses and hired thugs are complicit in the murder of innocent civilians and it is right that they pay the price,” Ms Truss said.
She added: “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”.
Addressing a NATO summit in Brussels earlier today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: ‘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.’
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