SHARE
COPY LINK

UKRAINE

Spain impounds third yacht linked to Russian oligarch

Spanish authorities impounded Wednesday a third yacht suspected of belonging to a Russian oligarch as part of European Union sanctions over the Ukraine war, the transport ministry said.

Russian yachts
Spain impounds third yacht linked to Russian oligarch. Photo: Josep LAGO / AFP

The 135-metre long yacht, the Crescent, cannot leave the northeastern port of Tarragona while the police determine if it “belongs or is under the control of” someone on the EU sanctions list, it said in a statement.

The yacht reportedly belongs to Igor Sechin, the head of Russia’s oil giant Rosneft and an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Crescent has been docked in Tarragona, a port city some 95 kilometres (60 miles) down the coast from Barcelona, since November.

It requested permission to depart the port on March 4th but did not set sail, the ministry said.

Sechin is on the European Union’s list of Russian tycoons targeted by sanctions imposed by the European Union following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24th.

Spanish authorities on Tuesday impounded a yacht called Lady Anastasia on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca which reportedly belongs to Russian tycoon Alexander Mikheev, the head of weapons exporting group Rosoboronexport.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced Monday during a TV interview that police had impounded an 85-metre-long yacht in Barcelona.

That yacht is named Valeria and it belongs to Sergei Chemezov, who heads Russian defence firm Rostec.

The authorities in Italy and France have also impounded yachts with links to Russian oligarchs as part of Europe’s efforts to pressure Putin to pull back from Ukraine.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

UKRAINE

Russia expels dozens of Spanish and other European diplomats

Moscow on Wednesday kicked out 27 diplomats from Spain, as well as dozens more from France and Italy in retaliation for the expulsion of Russian diplomats from European countries as part of a joint action against Russia's campaign in Ukraine.

Russia expels dozens of Spanish and other European diplomats

Spain has lashed out at Russia for expelling 27 Spanish diplomats in what appeared to be a tit-for-tat response over a similar move by Madrid against Russian diplomats over the Ukraine conflict.

The employees of the Spanish embassy in Moscow and the Spanish Consulate General in Saint Petersburg “have been declared persona non grata” and will have seven days to leave Russia.

 “Russian authorities justify this decision on grounds of reciprocity for the expulsion of 27 Russian embassy officials in April. But that expulsion was based on justified security reasons, which are not present in this case,” a foreign ministry statement said.

The Spanish decision was taken in early April just days after dozens of bodies in civilian clothing were found on the streets of Bucha just outside Kyiv following the withdrawal of Russian troops, raising allegations of Russian war crimes.

At the time, the foreign ministry said it would expel the Russian diplomats on grounds they were “a threat to (Spain’s) interests and security”.

The Russian ambassador was not among those asked to leave.

The ministry told Spanish ambassador Marcos Gómez Martínez that the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Madrid “would have a negative impact on Russian-Spanish relations”.

Spain’s decision was part of a coordinated move across Europe that saw more than 200 Russian envoys sent home in 48 hours on grounds of alleged spying or “national security reasons” as outrage grew over the atrocities in Ukraine.

More European diplomats expelled

Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement it was expelling 34 “employees of French diplomatic missions” in Russia and gave them two weeks to leave the country.

Moscow made the announcement after summoning France’s ambassador to Russia, Pierre Levy, and telling him that the expulsion of 41 employees of Russian diplomatic missions was a “provocative and unfounded decision”, the statement said.

While there was no official statement, the foreign ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed to Russian news agencies that 24 Italian diplomats had also been expelled.

The foreign ministry in Paris said France “strongly condemns” the expulsion of its diplomats by Russia, adding that this step from Moscow had “no legitimate basis”.

It said the work of French diplomats in Russia “takes place fully within the framework of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic and consular relations” — whereas Paris expelled Russian staff in April on suspicion of being spies.

‘Hostile act’

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi condemned the expulsions as a “hostile act” but said diplomatic channels must remain open “because it’s through those channels that, if possible, peace (in Ukraine) will be achieved”.

Separately, municipal lawmakers in Moscow on Wednesday backed a decision to name a previously unnamed area in front of the US embassy in Moscow “Donbas Defenders Square”.

The name refers to a majority Russian-speaking region in eastern Ukraine that Russia says it is liberating as part of its military campaign.

In February 2018, a street outside the Russian embassy in Washington was named after Boris Nemtsov, an opposition politician who was shot dead outside the Kremlin in 2015.

President Vladimir Putin in late February sent troops into Ukraine, saying the campaign aimed to stop the “genocide” of Russian speakers in the pro-Western country.

In response Moscow has faced a barrage of international sanctions and growing isolation from the global community as relations with the West deteriorate to Cold War levels.

SHOW COMMENTS