UK grounds Russian oligarch's private jet after sanctioning Putin's daughters

The UK has grounded a private jet owned by Russian billionaire Eugene Shvidler. Credit: AP/PA

The UK has grounded a Russian oligarch's private jet in London after sanctioning two of Vladimir Putin's adult daughters.

The jet, owned by billionaire Eugene Shvidler, has been banned from flying in the UK and deregistered, meaning any certificates in place to permit it to fly have been suspended.

It came after the UK and EU joined the US in freezing the assets of Katerina Vladimirovna Tikhonova and Maria Vladimirovna Vorontsova, two of Putin's daughters.

The UK also sanctioned the daughter of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Yekaterina Sergeyevna Vinokurova, saying the latest measures were designed to target the "lavish lifestyles" of the Russian President's inner circle.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Mr Shvidler's grounded jet - a Cessna aircraft with the tail registration G-LATO - had been targeted to show Putin's "cronies" their assets cannot be kept in the UK.

It was blocked from leaving on March 19 on the order of Mr Shapps to enable an investigation into its ownership to be carried out.

Mr Shvidler is a friend of Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.

Mr Shapps said finding out who owns private aircraft is often "extremely complex".

The Cabinet minister also announced that all Russian aircraft are now classified as "unairworthy in UK eyes" because "they're now not being serviced properly" due to sanctions.

The planes were already banned from UK airspace following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The government said Western measures are having a "devastating impact" on the Russia economy, with Putin's war machine suffering "deep and damaging consequences".

Sanctions have so far frozen £275 billion – 60% of Russian foreign currency reserves, according to government figures.

Analysis "shows Russia is heading for the deepest recession since the collapse of the Soviet Union," the Foreign Office said.It added measures have "triggered rapid inflation", with average consumer prices up 8.67 per cent since the invasion, equivalent to annual inflation running at 137%.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “Our unprecedented package of sanctions is hitting the elite and their families, while degrading the Russian economy on a scale Russia hasn’t seen since the fall of the Soviet Union.

“But we need to do more. Through the G7, we are ending the use of Russian energy and hitting Putin’s ability to fund his illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine.

“Together, we are tightening the ratchet on Russia’s war machine, cutting off Putin’s sources of cash.”

America led the way in sanctioning Putin's daughters on Wednesday, saying it was responding to "war crimes" being perpetrated by Russian forces in Ukraine.

Ursula von der Leyen, ahead of the sanctions being announced, revealed on Twitter that she was heading to Kyiv.

Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger said he and Ms von der Leyen were arriving with trade and humanitarian aid proposals for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his government.

For expert analysis and insight on the biggest stories listen to our podcast to find out What You Need To Know

In addition to sanctions on individuals, the bloc also approved an embargo on coal imports.

It's the first time the EU has targeted Russia’s lucrative energy industry with sanctions over its war in Ukraine.

The EU said it has already started working on additional sanctions, including on oil imports.

The UK is also expected to announce further action against Russians after announcing fresh sanctions on Wednesday which hit major Russian banks and eight more oligarchs.