New Delhi: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s alleged girlfriend, Alina Kabaeva, is included in the sixth proposed package of European Union sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

According to two European diplomatic sources, Kabaeva, who has been romantically linked to Putin was included in the proposed EU sanctions list, CNN reported.

At this stage, names can be taken off or added at member states’ discretion and is expected to be a point of negotiation when any new sanctions package is proposed, an EU Commission source told CNN.

The EU has not officially signed off on the draft proposal.

“Discussions are going on. It’s not a piece of cake, but we have to wait and see,” CNN quoted one of the diplomatic sources as saying.

Kabaeva, who was born in 1983, was first linked to Putin more than a decade ago, while she was a medal-winning gymnast. Putin, who is divorced, has denied a relationship with her.

Kabaeva and Putin reportedly met when she was a young gymnast who won multiple medals domestically at European competitions and at the Olympic Games. She was awarded the gold medal for rhythmic gymnastics at the Athens Games in 2004.

Widely known in her home country, she was chosen as one of the torch bearers when Russia hosted the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in 2014, an event that took place shortly before Russia illegally annexed Ukraine’s the Crimean Peninsula, reported CNN.

By the time of her retirement, she had won 18 World Championship medals and 25 European Championship medals on top of her Olympic prizes.

Like other Russian athletes, she has not escaped the taint of doping, losing her medals at an event in 2001 after testing positive for a banned substance.

She moved into politics, holding a seat in Russia’s lower house of parliament from 2007-to 2014 with the ruling United Russia party.

In 2014 she became chair of the National Media Group, which has large stakes in almost all major Russian state media outlets.


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