EU blacklists 'butchers of Bucha, Mariupol' in latest Russian sanctions

EU blacklists 'butchers of Bucha, Mariupol' in latest Russian sanctions

EU blacklists Bucha and Mariupol in latest Russian sanctions BRUSSELS Reuters - The European Union has blacklisted Russian military commanders who it said led troops involved in atrocities in Ukraine, describing them as butchers of Bucha and Mariupol.

Alina Kabaeva, whom it described as close to President Vladimir Putin, was also included in its latest sanctions list, although he has denied that they are romantically linked.

The EU released the names of 65 more people targeted by the latest round of sanctions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which included a ban on most oil imports and removing Russia's top lender Sberbank from the international SWIFT payments system.

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, did not respond immediately to a request for comment on the EU blacklist, and there was no immediate public comment by those targeted by the bloc.

Among the 65 people named was Azatbek Omurbekov, who the EU claimed led Russian troops as they killed, raped and tortured civilians in Bucha, which earned him the nickname Butcher of Bucha. Also named was Mikhail Mizintsev, a general the EU said oversaw the siege and bombardment of Mariupol that killed thousands. The EU said that Russia's strikes in the Azov Sea port city killed hundreds of children, as well as a former Olympic medalist in gymnastics, and then a member of parliament with Putin's United Russia party.

In 2008, Russian newspaper Moskovsky Korrespondent named Kabaeva as Putin's girlfriend. Putin has rejected the assertion, and Reuters could not independently confirm it. The newspaper closed soon after the article appeared.

The EU said that the latest sanctions also hit Arkady Volozh, who immediately stepped down as the chief executive of Yandex, Russian internet giant where state-owned banks including Sberbank own a stake.

The bloc said that Yandex was promoting state narratives and lowering the visibility of content critical to the Kremlin, including on the war in Ukraine.

Yandex shares fell by as much as 10% after the EU announcement on the 100th day of Russia's invasion, but recovered to a 6% loss on the day at 1500 GMT.

The EU hit Russia's National Settlement Depository, which Moscow planned to use to service the country's eurobonds after Citibank withdrew, raising the risk of a major external debt default.