Russian oligarch's yacht stuck in Norway as sanctions continue to hurt Putin loyalists

Locals have refused to refuel a boat belonging to former KGB agent Vladimir Strzhalkovsk

An oligarch's yacht is stranded in Norway after locals refused to refuel the vessel over its owner's links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The 68-metre Ragnar, owned by former KGB agent Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, is stuck in the northern port town of Narvik.

The ship’s captain has contacted suppliers in the area without success, public broadcaster NRK reported.

Rune Edvardsen, the town’s Mayor, said the situation must be settled politically. Norway is not an EU member, but has said it will join Brussels’ sanctions against Russia over Ukraine.

While neither Strzhalkovsky nor the yacht have had sanctions officially imposed against them, suppliers are wary, said Mr Edvardsen, who is talking with local suppliers and other government officials.

“The government does not want businesses and persons to apply their own sanctions against Russian companies,” Bjornar Skjaeran, Norway’s Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Policy, told the local newspaper Fremover Wednesday.

In the meantime, the yacht can get power from the port, “so they’re not freezing to death", Mr Edvardsen said.

Yachts belonging to Russian billionaires have come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks as European governments mount a sanctions campaign against the country for its invasion of Ukraine.

The superyacht Crescent, which was seized by the Spanish government, moored in Tarragona, Spain. Bloomberg.

Spanish authorities on Wednesday impounded a third yacht suspected to belong to a Russian oligarch, the country's transport ministry said.

The 135-metre yacht, the Crescent, cannot leave the north-eastern port of Tarragona while the police determine if it "belongs or is under the control of" someone on the EU sanctions list, the ministry said.

The yacht reportedly belongs to Igor Sechin, the head of Russia's oil giant Rosneft and an ally of Mr Putin.

The Crescent has been docked in Tarragona, a port city about 95 kilometres down the coast from Barcelona, since November.

It requested permission to depart the port on March 4 but did not set sail, the ministry said.

Mr Sechin is on the list of Russian tycoons hit by sanctions imposed by the EU after Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Spanish authorities on Tuesday impounded a yacht called Lady Anastasia on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca.

The boat reportedly belongs to Russian tycoon Alexander Mikheev, the head of weapons exporting group Rosoboronexport.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced on Monday that police had impounded an 85-metre yacht in Barcelona.

That yacht is named Valeria and belongs to Sergei Chemezov, who leads Russian defence firm Rostec.

The authorities in Italy and France have also impounded yachts with links to Russian oligarchs as part of Europe's efforts to pressure Mr Putin to withdraw from Ukraine.

Updated: March 22, 2022, 12:01 PM
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