Biden bans Russian flights, vows punishment for oligarchs

All eyes are on the Russian oligarchs as financial and social sanctions continue to bombard Russia.

More and more countries are continuing to stop banking and trading with Russia, making the value of their currency, the ruble, plummet. But at the center of the economic impact are the Russian oligarchs who made their wealth by exploiting citizens when Russia was privatized.

Earlier this week, a college student created a Twitter account that tracked the flights of Russian oligarchs' private jets. Now, a former CIA officer is tracking Russian oligarch's superyachts as they leave Russian waters on Twitter.

Alex Finley started #YachtWatch on Twitter where he posts updates about major Russian oligarchs' yachts' whereabouts. The popularity of Finley's yacht watch has led him to create a column where readers can subscribe to keep up with the news.

The hope is to publicize Russian oligarchs' lavish lifestyles and impose sanctions on them from Western world countries. Putin's decision to invade Ukraine has had grave consequences for average Russian citizens who are suffering from global sanctions.

But oligarchs are not due to their extraordinary wealth.

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So far, German authorities seized a 512-foot yacht from oligarch Alisher Usmanov and the French government seized the yacht of Igor Sechin.

"More and more it is sounding like EU and UK are looking to expel these yachts from their ports, not actually seize them. US seems to be discussing actual seizure," Finley tweeted on Tuesday.

By seizing or expelling oligarch's yachts from ports, banning flights from Russia, and imposing other sanctions on the ultra-wealthy Russians, the hope is to put more pressure on Putin to remove troops from Ukraine since many of the oligarchs are associates of Putin.

During the State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Joe Biden said the US would be keeping a close eye on oligarchs, “We are joining with our European allies to find and seize your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets. We are coming for your ill-begotten gains.”

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