US targets Russian yachts and Putin-linked cellist over Ukraine war

In his State of the Union address in March, Biden said the United States would work to seize the yachts, luxury apartments and private jets of wealthy Russians linked to Putin.

The US Treasury Department has identified two ships, the Russian-flagged Graceful and the Cayman Islands-flagged Olympia, as property in which Putin has an interest. The Russian president, who was blacklisted in the aftermath of his February 24 invasion of Ukraine, has made numerous trips on the yachts, including one to the Black Sea with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko last year, said the treasure.

He also identified two other yachts which he said were used by Putin and belonged to a sanctioned Russian company.

The Treasury has also targeted Imperial Yachts, a Monaco-based brokerage firm that allows superyacht owners, including Russian oligarchs, to charter their boats when not in use, as well as an airline that, according to she was involved in a program to transfer planes to an offshore company to avoid sanctions.

The Biden administration also added Sergei Roldugin, a cellist and conductor already under European Union sanctions for his ties to Putin, to its list of sanctioned individuals. The order froze his American assets and barred Americans from doing business with them.

The State Department also imposed sanctions on five Russian oligarchs and members of the country’s elite, including Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

Putin sent his troops across the border in what he calls a special military operation on Feb. 24 to disarm and “denazify” Ukraine. Ukraine and its allies call this a baseless pretext for a war of aggression.

Mary I. Bruner