ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A yacht belonging to Chelsea soccer club owner and sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich has docked in Turkey’s Aegean Sea resort of Bodrum, Turkish media reports said Monday, amid international moves to freeze assets belonging to top Russian businessmen with close links to the Kremlin.
Turkey’s private NTV television said the Bermuda-flagged luxury yacht Solaris docked at the southern port in Turkey — which has not joined sanctions on Russia — after departing from Montenegro.
A group of Ukrainians carrying Ukrainian flags with the words “No War” emblazoned on them boarded a small motor boat and tried to prevent the yacht from docking, the Sozcu newspaper reported.
It was not known if Abramovich was aboard the yacht or if it was moved to Turkey to avoid sanctions.
Last week, the European Union imposed sanctions on Abramovich as it updated a list of individuals facing asset freezes and travel bans over their ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government, which has sent the Russian military to invade Ukraine. Abramovich had already been punished in Britain.
NATO-member Turkey has close ties to both Russia and Ukraine. It has criticized Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine but has also positioned itself as a neutral party trying to mediate between the two.
Turkey has closed the Turkish Straits connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to most Russian warships but has not imposed sanctions on Russia or shut down its airspace to Russian flights.
Last week, Abramovich arrived in Istanbul from Jerusalem aboard his private jet before departing for Moscow the next morning.