Speaking to The Mirror, a source claiming to be the personal assistant to several sanctioned Russian oligarchs said they had witnessed the men break down “in tears” due to their assets being frozen. After President Vladimir Putin took the decision to invade Ukraine (once again) in February 2022, he was shortly met with Western countries taking strategic action against Russia, including the targeting of his allies—some of the country’s wealthiest businessmen.
“I have had to endure hearing them in tears because they can’t get on board a private jet or book a holiday or even get an Uber anymore,” the personal assistant, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, told The Mirror.
According to the publication, the assistant works for the oligarchs who live in Surrey’s St George’s Estate, located in the UK. It is a gated community where a third of the residents are said to be Russian. It’s also considered to be one of the most exclusive private residential addresses outside of London, according to property finder Garrington South.
The Mirror report added that some of the oligarchs in question had to ask staff to pay for their taxis after the Uber executive accounts linked to their cards had been closed. “It’s hard to have any sympathy. It doesn’t matter to them if people are dying in Ukraine,” shared the anonymous assistant, adding that an oligarch’s wife collapsed in tears after bespoke electrical fittings ordered for her £10 million mansion were blocked.
Another Surrey pair were stranded in Dubai when their first-class flight was cancelled.
Sanctions have also targeted oligarchs’ families, such as in the case of billionaire businessman Gennady Timchenko—whose wife and daughters have been impacted by the restrictions. Timchenko has been close friends with President Putin since the early 1990s.
Speaking about oligarch families in general, the assistant said, “They care only about themselves and how the sanctions are starting to affect their champagne lifestyle. But that’s all changing now and it’s good to see them having to adjust to their new place in the world.”
Hopefully, this will teach them a thing or two about caring for others, and the impact of war, rather than their precious light fittings. As the assistant initially told The Mirror, “They care only about themselves and how the sanctions are starting to affect their champagne lifestyle.” They went as far as to reveal that “just before the war one of the wealthy Russian families I know in Surrey paid £24,000 to fly a live crab and some black caviar from Moscow on a private jet for a party.” Sickening.
A heroic Ukrainian soldier blew himself up with a bridge in order to stop Russian troops from advancing further, according to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Sharing the news on their Facebook page, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that Skakun Vitaliy Volodymyrovych took up a position on the Henichesk Bridge near Crimea when Russian tanks were advancing. After realising that he would not be able to get out in time before the explosion, the soldier allegedly took the decision to stay down and ensure that the bridge was destroyed, whatever the cost.
Ukrainian Armed Forces have since called him a hero who sacrificed his life for his country.
The translated post read: “On this difficult day for our country, when the Ukrainian people are repelling the Russian occupiers in all directions, one of the most difficult places on the map of Ukraine was the Isthmus of Perekop, where a separate marines battalion was one of the first to meet the enemy.”
Quoting the same force, Euromaidan Press wrote on Twitter: “To stop the advance of the tank column, the decision was to blow up the Henichesk bridge. The engineer Skakun Vitaliy volunteered to perform this task. He mined the bridge but couldn’t leave and blew it up together with himself.”
His comrades reported that they heard Vitaliy planning to blow up the bridge, and then heard an immediate explosion. The general staff statement continued, “Our comrade died. His heroic deed significantly slowed the enemy’s advance, which allowed the unit to redeploy and organise the defence.”
The statement also confirmed that Vitaliy will be considered for a state military award, “The Marine Command will apply to the High Command to award the state award to sailor Skakun Vitaliy Volodymyrovych.”
It finished by stating: “Russian invaders, know, under your feet the earth will burn! We will fight as long as we live! And as long as we are alive we will fight!”
Despite the soldier’s sacrifice, it is believed that the area has now been seized by Russian forces. The invasion, which started in the early hours of Thursday 24 February, went on for a second day, with Russian forces moving towards Kyiv, meeting heavy resistance along the way.
Sadly, recent footage showed tanks arriving in the capital. Ukraine’s government has banned men aged between 18 and 60 years old from leaving the area and has asked that anyone who is willing and able to take up arms against the invaders should do so.