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Luxury Russian yachts are the latest casualty of the Russian invasion of Ukraine: Read details

Fearing sanctions and seizures by the European government, the Russian billionaires close to President Vladimir Putin are moving their yachts to smaller friendly countries as the United States and its allies prepare further sanctions on their property amidst the ongoing war.

The Russian luxury yachts have become the latest casualties of the Russian-Ukraine war as the western governments are now planning to seize them as a response to Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch special military operations in Ukraine.

Fearing sanctions and seizures by the European government, the Russian billionaires close to President Vladimir Putin are moving their yachts to smaller friendly countries as the United States and its allies prepare further sanctions on their property amidst the ongoing war.

According to a report by CNBC, Marine Traffic showed that at least four massive yachts owned by Russian business leaders are moving towards Montenegro and the Maldives after the United States and its European allies announced sanctions against Russian oligarchs.

Earlier, the Biden administration had announced the creation of a task force targeting the assets, including yachts and mansions owned by the Russian billionaires believed to be close to Putin. France has also formulated a list of properties owned by Russian oligarchs, including cars and yachts, that could be seized under sanctions by the European Union.

The yachts owned by the Russian businessmen are on the move towards Mauritius as they do not have an extradition treaty with the United States.

Following the US’s punitive actions, some of Russia’s wealthiest are moving their yachts to undisclosed locations to avoid harsh sanctions.

Reportedly, Vagit Alekperov, the president of Russia-based Lukoil, is sailing his yacht to Montenegro, which is expected to reach there in the coming days. At least another three yachts owned by other Russian billionaires will reach the Maldives.

Germany, France seize luxury Russian yachts

Meanwhile, the German authorities have reportedly seized the $600m yacht belonging to Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov in a Hamburg shipyard.

Usmanov is one of those Russian billionaires currently facing sanctions from the European Union in response to Russian military actions in Ukraine.

On Wednesday, the German authorities seized Usmanov’s 156-metre yacht “Dilbar” worth $600m, regarded as the largest motor yacht in the world. The German Finance Ministry said the yacht was owned by an entity of which Sechin had been identified as the main shareholder.

Since late October, the yacht has been in the yards of shipbuilding firm Blohm+Voss. 

The French government has also said it had seized a 280-foot yacht linked to Rosneft boss Igor Sechin in the Mediterranean port of La Ciotat.

“Thanks to the French customs officers who are enforcing the European Union’s sanctions against those close to the Russian government,” France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in a tweet Thursday.

Sechin, former deputy prime minister of Russia, has been the CEO of Russian state oil company Rosneft since 2012. 

Boss is a criminal: Ukrainian sailor sinks $7.7 Million Russian yacht

In a bizarre incident, a Ukrainian sailor was reportedly arrested by the Spanish police for trying to sink his Russian boss’s luxury yacht.

Reportedly, the 55-year-old Taras Ostapchuk, a ship engineer, opened valves in the engine room of the 156-foot vessel in an attempt to flood it as a form of protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The yacht was docked at Mallorca port in Spain.

The engineer was arrested by Spain’s Civil Guard on Saturday, who was presented before the judge on Sunday. Ostapchuk told the judge he did not regret his actions. 

“I don’t regret anything I’ve done, and I would do it again,” Ostapchuk said. The 55-year-old sailor said his boss is “a criminal who sells weapons that kill the Ukrainian people.”

The cruise – “Lady Anastasia” is a 156-foot yacht that belongs to Alexander Mijeev, the CEO of Rosoboronexport, which exports defence products like weapons, ships, tanks and fighting vehicles.

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