The wife of one of Vladimir Putin‘s most senior officials enjoyed a lavish trip to Paris where she spent £70,000 on designer goods as Russia rained down bombs on Kyiv.
Svetlana Ivanova, who is married to the Kremlin’s deputy defence minister Timur Ivanov, travelled to Paris and England to see her teenage children in March this year.
Allies of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny revealed in an investigation by The Anti-Corruption Foundation Ms Ivanova visited a Prada boutique in Paris along with other exclusive jewellery shops, spending a total of £70,000 during the short getaway.
That same week, rescuers were seen pulling dead bodies and bloodied survivors from a wreckage in Kyiv, after a blast pulverised vehicles and a shopping mall, nearby office blocks and a gym on March 22.
The explosion forced Ukraine into yet another curfew, while long range missiles continued to batter entire cities.
Svetlana Ivanova, who is married to the Kremlin’s deputy defence minister Timur Ivanov, travelled to Paris and England to see her teenage children in March this year
That same week, rescuers were seen pulling dead bodies and bloodied survivors from a wreckage in Kyiv, after a blast pulverised vehicles and a shopping mall, nearby office blocks and a gym on March 22
In spite of the human tragedy – with losses on both sides of the fighting – Putin’s allies and those near and dear to his team were largely going about their daily life.
Ms Ivanova’s son Mikhail is a student at Oxford University in England and her daughter lives in France.
Her husband is among those sanctioned by Britain, the European Union and the United States due to his proximity to Putin, but Ms Ivanova and her children are not under the same restrictions.
Ivanov, 47, has been in his role since 2016, and before that he served as deputy head of the Moscow region.
According to Navalny’s allies, the Ivanov family have enjoyed lives of luxury, with month-long holidays in the French Riviera costing hundreds of thousands of pounds and several properties throughout Russia.
‘Officials in Russia are branding people who leave the country as traitors, yet at the same time the stepson of the deputy defence minister is getting an education in England. This is the height of hypocrisy,’ Sergey Yezhov, from Navalny’s anti-corruption group, told The Times.
Her husband is among those sanctioned by Britain, the European Union and the United States due to his proximity to Putin, but Ms Ivanova and her children are not under the same restrictions
According to Navalny’s allies, the Ivanov family have enjoyed lives of luxury, with month-long holidays in the French Riviera costing hundreds of thousands of pounds and several properties throughout Russia
It’s understood Ivanov and Ms Ivanova filed for divorce earlier this year, but they’re said to be still together. The publication reported they legally separated in a bid to avoid any western sanctions on Ms Ivanova
‘Many Russian families don’t earn in a year what they pay for his university fees.’ Annual fees are estimated to be about £14,600.
It’s understood Ivanov and Ms Ivanova filed for divorce earlier this year, but they’re said to be still together. The publication reported they legally separated in a bid to avoid any western sanctions on Ms Ivanova.
Both Mikhail and Ms Ivanova’s daughter Alexandra are keen Instagram users, despite the platform being banned in Russia.
After the invasion of Ukraine, Alexandra wrote: ‘There should not be hostilities in any country in the world.’ She did not directly criticise the Kremlin.
March also offered an early indication that not all was going to plan for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Senior officials began to publicly admit things were moving at a slower pace than the Kremlin had initially anticipated, and Ukrainian troops were holding their ground.
Smoke billows from a fire at an infrastructure object after a drone attack in Kyiv on December 19
This aerial photograph taken on December 20, 2022, shows destruction in the village of Bohorodychne, eastern Ukraine
The conflict has since turned into somewhat of a war of attrition, dragging now into its 10th month as brave Ukrainian soldiers continue to defend their territory.
On Wednesday, Russia’s defense minister called for expanding Moscow’s military by at least 500,000 people in a bid to hasten their efforts.
Speaking during a meeting with his top military brass, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would take lessons learned in the conflict to ‘develop our armed forces and strengthen the capability of our troops’.
He said special emphasis would go to developing nuclear forces, which he described as ‘the main guarantee of Russia’s sovereignty.’
The bullish rhetoric from Moscow came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with President Joe Biden in Washington, where U.S. officials announced a huge new military aid package for Kyiv.
This handout picture taken and released on December 19, 2022 by Ukrainian Emergency Ministry shows rescuers extinguishing a fire at a critical power infrastructure after a drone attack in Kyiv
Rescuers work at the site of the shopping mall damaged by an airstrike, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv in March
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the beefed-up Russian military will include 695,000 volunteer contract soldiers, 521,000 of whom should be recruited by the end of 2023. The Russian military had about 400,000 contract soldiers as part of its one-million-member military before the fighting in Ukraine began.
All Russian men ages 18 to 27 are obliged to serve in the military for one year.
In Ukraine, Russian forces pounded populated areas with more missiles and artillery Wednesday.
They shelled areas around the city of Nikopol in Ukraine’s southeastern Dnipropetrovsk region overnight, its governor, Valentyn Reznichenko, said on Telegram on Wednesday morning.
The Ukrainian president’s office reported Wednesday that Russian attacks on Tuesday killed five civilians and wounded 17. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said Russia unleashed five missiles and 16 airstrikes on Ukrainian territory and 61 attacks from multiple-launch rocket systems.
People gather amid the destruction caused after shelling of a shopping center, in Kyiv, Ukraine
Destroyed cars are seen at the site of a military strike on a shopping center in the Podilskyi district of Kyiv. Sources on the ground said the capital city ‘resembled a disaster movie’ following the barbaric and relentless attacks
General Staff spokesperson Oleksandr Shtupun said Ukrainian forces repelled attacks around more than 25 populated areas in eastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, with the cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka continuing to be key targets of Russia’s grinding offensive.
The bodies of seven civilians, including a teenage girl, were found in a mass grave in the village of Pravdyne in southern Ukraine’s Kherson province, the Ukrainian defense minister said Wednesday. The village was held by Russian forces from March until early November.
‘They simply kill,’ Oleksii Reznikov wrote on Twitter.
He said as of December 21, in the country’s northeastern Kharkiv province the bodies of about 500 civilians who died during the Russian occupation have been found.
The Russian military last reported its combat losses in September, when it said 5,937 troops were killed, but the West had much higher estimates.
Earlier this week, U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said 100,000 Russian troops were dead, wounded or had deserted since the invasion began.