Alexey Mordashov is a well known Russian billionaire who made most of his cash as the main shareholder and chairman of Russia’s largest steel company.
Like many Russians businesses, his efforts resulted sanctions from the European Union. A key bank he holds shares of was apparently singled out for benefitting from Russia’s annexation from Crimea. Banks profit when war happens.
But the EU isn’t stopping at just sanctions. Allies in western ports have been seizing assets upon entry should someone Russia-connected dock into their ports.
Eight months ago, as the seizures grew, the location of Mordashov and his yacht fell off the radar. He’s essentially been lost at sea until now, as Zero Hedge reports.
All of sudden on Sunday his location reappeared, passing by Singapore.
It seems like it wouldn’t be easy to live at sea for an entire eight months. But Mordashov’s half a billion dollar yacht has all the bells and whistles you’d need for a comfortable stay at sea.
It has two helicopter pads, a swimming pool and even a movie theater, so things could certainly be worse.
Bloomberg estimates that the yacht is expected to dock in nearby Busan, South Korea.
This story provides a larger narrative on which key allies support the EU’s efforts to continue conflict in the Ukraine.
President Yoon Suk Yeol, who has only been in office for a year, expressed openness to supplying arms to the Ukraine. “If there is a situation the international community cannot condone, such as any large-scale attack on civilians, massacre or serious violation of the laws of war, it might be difficult for us to insist only on humanitarian or financial support,” Yeol told Reuters.
Yeol publicly said his nation’s goals is to become one of the top 4 biggest arm sellers in the world. Korea already sits at number eight, so it’s not too lofty of a goal. Aiding Ukraine, obviously, would assist in their ambitions.
But then Vladimir Putin put his foot down. He told state-owned Russian TV, “We have learned that the Republic of Korea has made a decision to supply weapons and ammunition to Ukraine. This will destroy our relations. How would the Republic of Korea react if we resumed cooperation with North Korea in that sphere?”
Now that’s a veiled threat if there ever was one. And North Korea shares a border with Russia. In fact, the friendship between the two countries has gotten even stronger in the last couple of years after a 2019 summit between Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. That same year, Russia announced that they’d be opposing sanctions against North Korea. They’ve been supplying the isolated nation for decades, acting as one of their few lifelines.
So, what does this all mean? Mordashovs’s success is obviously in the Russian government’s best business. And perhaps as an apology for speaking out of turn, Korea is offering their port as a safe harbor for one of Russia’s key economic players.
Expect Korea to face a ton of blowback should they let Mordashov dock and keep his assets. And expect western nations to feel deflated as they felt Korea was almost there in declaring financial and moral support to the Ukraine.
This further indicates that there’s no end in sight when it comes to the conflict.