- A woman US authorities believe is Vladimir Putin’s girlfriend may be hit with EU sanctions.
- The US has considered implementing sanctions against her, but feared escalating the conflict.
- Alina Kabaeva is a former gymnast, lawmaker, and media executive.
The European Union is considering imposing sanctions against an Olympic gold-winning gymnast who is rumored to have once been engaged to Vladimir Putin.
A preliminary sanctions list that still must be approved by the European governing bodies names Alina Kabaeva, chair of Russia’s National Media Group, as “closely associated with President Vladimir Putin,” Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing a document with details on the potential EU sanctions.
Ambassadors from each of the 27 member states are set to discuss the sanction list — the sixth of its kind — on Friday morning, Bloomberg reported, adding that they are also expected to talk over gradually halting Russian oil imports by the end of 2022.
The document detailing the potential sanctions also asserts that National Media Group, which Kabaeva chairs, frequently uses its position as a media outlet to share propaganda, Bloomberg reported.
The US has also considered sanctions against Kabaeva but has not yet gone through it out of concerns that it may escalate the conflict, given the personal nature of their connection.
In 2008, a Russian newspaper, named the Moskovsky Korrespondent, wrote that Kabaeva and Putin were secretly betrothed, according to Radio Free Europe. The paper closed soon thereafter, The New York Times reported.
The Kremlin and the pair have repeatedly denied any allegations of a relationship.
She also once held the title “Russia’s most flexible woman” having earned two Olympic medals, 14 World Championship medals, and 21 European Championship medals.
After ending her athletic career, she joined Russia’s parliament for nearly seven years prior to becoming the head of the media outlet, Insider previously reported. She is rumored to live in Switzerland.
The EU, the US, and the UK have continued to batter Russia’s elite with sanctions since Putin waged an unprovoked war against Ukraine at the end of February.