A core group of Vladimir Putin’s best friends – named as those sanctioned by the UK this week – were forced to sell their luxury multi-million-pound jets when they faced similar punishments in 2014.

Gennady Timchenko, and brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, were named by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as part of those being hit with sanctions because of Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

But calls from opposition MPs for the UK Government to come down harder on Russia – and Russian oligarchs – were waved off by the PM yesterday, but they could be based on historical evidence.

For the three men hit with punishments in 2014 when Russia illegally annexed Crimea seemingly got off lightly last time.

Russian billionaires and businessmen Arkady Rotenberg and Boris Rotenberg

Gennady Timchenko, who is known to be close to Russian president Vladimir Putin, is a major shareholder in Rossiya Bank, and has an estimated net worth of £15 billion.

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But when he was sanctioned in 2014, he was forced to sell a Gulfstream G650 private jet for around £40 million.

He said to Russia’s own TASS news agency at the time: “My Gulfstream cannot be used because the company won’t supply it with spare parts, and the pilots don’t have the right to use the navigation, the built-in maps.”

Boris Rotenberg and wife Karina
Boris Rotenberg and wife Karina

And this week, he said: “You have to pay for everything in your life, even for your friendship with the president.”

And brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, worth a combined £3.4 billion, were sanctioned.

They sold two luxury jets worth around £30 million in 2014 after Credit Suisse refused to take payments from them when the United States imposed sanctions.

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The trio faced issues replacing parts and maintaining the jets, so decided to just sell them instead.

It is unknown whether or not they faced any real hardship last time.

Despite the previous sanctions imposed on all three men, and the new sanctions this time, it is not thought that they would face much trouble from them, as they did not do so in 2014.

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The trio had to sell their private jets in 2014
The trio had to sell their private jets in 2014

Earlier today UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told English clubs to boycott the Champions League final in light of the escalating crisis between Russia and Ukraine.

Truss backed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s calls on Tuesday to change the location of the final from St Petersburg after Russia sparked international outcry by sending troops into the Donbas region of Ukraine.

All four Premier League clubs – Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea – are still in the prestigious European competition and could reach the final.

But the foreign secretary insists English teams should boycott the event if it goes ahead in Russia as planned.

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