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UK detains Russian-owned superyacht in ‘warning’ to Putin

LONDON — British authorities detain a Russian-owned, $50-million superyacht boasting a fresh-water swimming pool, in what it calls a “warning” to Moscow of the consequences for invading Ukraine.

The impounding of Phi, the first superyacht ever to be held in British waters, comes after the UK sanctioned hundreds of Russian individuals and entities in recent weeks over the Kremlin’s war.

Authorities are holding the vessel, which is docked at Canary Wharf in London, after the “combating kleptocracy” unit of the National Crime Agency (NCA) uncovered that its ultimate owner is a Russian businessman.

Although the unidentified individual has not been sanctioned by the UK, new powers allow Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to detain ships controlled, chartered, or operated by people connected to Russia.

On a visit to the wharf, Shapps said the 58.5-meter (192-foot) vessel worth £38 million ($50 million) was in London for a refit, but now “won’t be going anywhere.”

The seizure sent a “clear and stark warning” to Russian President Vladimir Putin, he says.

“It’s just another indication that we will not stand by whilst Putin’s cronies are allowed to sail around the world in these kinds of yachts and people in Ukraine are suffering.”

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