Thu. May 19th, 2022

Ex-Formula One driver Nikita Mazepin, his father, Dmitry, Winter Olympic gold medalist Anton Shipulin and former heavyweight boxing champion Nikolai Valuev have been sanctioned

The UK government has added ex-Formula One driver Nikita Mazepin, his father, Dmitry, Winter Olympic gold medalist Anton Shipulin and former heavyweight boxing champion Nikolai Valuev to its sanctions list as a result of the attack on Ukraine.

The quartet have received a travel ban and had their assets frozen, joining more than 370 people who were added to the list on Tuesday.

More than 1,000 Russians and Belarusians have now been sanctioned by the country’s Foreign Office, which said that the additions to the list included ‘[Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s political allies and propagandists.’

“We are going further and faster than ever in hitting those closest to Putin – from major oligarchs to his Prime Minister and the propagandists who peddle his lies and disinformation,” said Liz Truss, the UK Foreign Secretary.

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“We are holding them to account for their complicity in Russia’s crimes in Ukraine.

“Working closely with our allies, we will keep increasing the pressure on Putin and cut off funding for the Russian war machine.”

Mazepin was axed a season into his Formula One career earlier this month, when American racing team Haas abruptly terminated his contract and ended its partnership with Russian lead sponsor Uralkali.

Billionaire businessman Dmitry Mazepin is on the board of directors at the potash producer.

Mazepin senior was described as “a member of the closest circle of Vladimir Putin” by the EU when it added the pair to its sanctions list on March 9.

The rookie racer said he had only found out about his F1 departure through a press release and has set up a support organization for athletes who have faced punishments from sporting bodies.

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner admitted that he had only informed Mazepin in writing, although he said he was “sorry” over the situation.

Speaking to RTL, Steiner said he found it “difficult to say” whether he sees Mazepin as a victim.

“The external circumstances that neither I nor he can change are just the way they are,” he added. “You have to live with that and keep going. I see it as part of life.”

Shipulin and Valuev both enjoyed title-winning sporting careers before turning to politics.

Biathlete Shipulin won a host of medals at junior and senior level during a 13-year competitive career.

A bronze relay medal at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games and gold in the same event in Sochi four years later were among his sporting career highlights.

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The United Russia candidate earned more than 78 percent of the vote in the 2019 State Duma by-election in the Serov constituency.

At 7ft tall, Valuev was known for being the largest and tallest heavyweight champion in the history of boxing when he held versions of world titles for around five years before his retirement in 2009.

Valuev is also part of United Russia and started his political career in 2011.

The sanctions are the latest to be placed on prominent Russians involved in sport.

Arguably the most high-profile example so far is Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea owner whose assets – including the Premier League club – have been frozen because of his alleged ties to Putin.

Abramovich has always said he has done nothing to warrant being sanctioned.