Superyachts Putin Used to Meet With Belarus Targeted in New Sanctions

The U.S. Treasury Department announced a new sanctions package on Thursday that, among other measures, targets yachts that have been linked to or used by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin has used two of the yachts that were identified as "blocked property" in the package to take "numerous trips," including one to the Black Sea in 2021 where he was joined by top ally Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, the Treasury Department said in a press release.

Ever since launching his war against Ukraine in late February, Putin and Russia have been hit with unprecedented sets of sanctions that have included a U.S. embargo on Russian oil and the banning of some Russian banks from the SWIFT banking system. This new package detailed by the Treasury is intended to "further tighten and enforce existing sanctions" by pinpointing yachts and aircraft in which "sanctioned Russian elites maintain interests."

"Russia's elites, up to and including President Putin, rely on complex support networks to hide, move, and maintain their wealth and luxury assets," Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement. "Today's action demonstrates that Treasury can and will go after those responsible for shielding and maintaining these ill-gotten interests. We will continue to enforce our sanctions and expose the corrupt systems by which President Putin and his elites enrich themselves."

Putin Yachts Targeted in New Sanctions
The U.S. Treasury Department announced a new sanctions package Thursday that, among other measures, targets yachts that have been linked to or used by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Above, Putin (right) speaks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, north of the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk, on April 12. Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

The Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also identified other entities and one individual who were linked to the two yachts, named Olympia and Graceful, either through management or registered ownership roles. These include the Russian-owned SCF Management Services Cyprus Ltd., Ironstone Marine Investments, JSC Argument and O'Neill Assets Corporation.

The OFAC also pinpointed the sole shareholder and former director of JSC Argument, Andrei Valeryevich Gasilov, in connection with the yachts.

Two additional Putin-linked yachts, named Shellest and Nega, were also targeted by the OFAC in the measure announced Thursday. Both vessels are owned by the Russian company Non-Profit Partnership Revival of Maritime Traditions, as well as its Russian subsidiary, Limited Liability Company Gelios, the Treasury said.

"OFAC identified Shellest as blocked property in which Revival of Maritime Traditions has an interest and identified Nega as blocked property in which LLC Gelios has an interest. Shellest periodically travels to the coast where President Putin's infamous Black Sea Palace is located, and President Putin uses Nega for travel in Russia's North," the Treasury said.

The U.S. State Department and Commerce Department also took additional actions against Russia alongside the Treasury. The State Department announced sanctions on additional Russian oligarchs and elites, including Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, while the Commerce Department placed additional restrictions on Russia's ability to obtain military technologies, CNN reported.

Newsweek reached out to Russia's Foreign Ministry for comment.