Russian oligarch Vladimir Strzhalkovsky is down one yacht after tensions with home country have left it stranded in Norway.
The Ragnar superyacht, to be exact, is not being held to port by any sanctions against Russia, but because no one will sell it any fuel. Ever since Moscow decided to invade Ukraine and wage war, anti-Russian sentiments have run high in Norway, and most of Europe. Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, an ex-KGB agent and the boat’s owner, has long been linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We find the discrimination against us, extremely unjust,” the yacht’s captain, Robert Lankester, said about the Ragnar‘s predicament.
The Russian oligarch is not on board the ship currently, and not a single member of the 16-person crew is Russian. Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, who made his wealth as the former head of the mining company Norilsk Nickel, is also not currently on any sanctions lists from Europe, the UK, or the US.
Despite the Russian superyacht’s status, The New York Times reported that several Norwegian politicians have urged the government to confiscate the boat regardless. The law in Norway prevents politicians from capturing the ship, however, without directive from the European Union.
Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt added that since Norway was a third party in the matter, there were also “no established channels for third-party countries like Norway to come with their own suggestions for the list.”
The Russian superyacht has been moored in Narvik, Norway for several weeks now, according to NPR, and mostly operated beforehand completely outside of any connection to Vladamir Strzhalkovsky.
“We are a Western crew,” Captain Robert Lankester told local reporters in Norway. “We have nothing to do with the owner.”
According to Boat International, a profile of the Russian superyacht described the 68-meter (223 feet) ship as a custom-built luxury liner that offers charter trips for winter getaways. The Ragnar was a former service ship that could cut through the ice, transformed into a luxury boat with a “British pub interior.”
The ship’s amenities include “a BigBo amphibious ATV, heli-skiing equipment, four See-Doos, four ski scooters, six Seabobs, a multipurpose island and a giant slide,” Boat International reported.
The Ragnar was also listed for sale by Russian oligarch Vladimir Strzhalkovsky one year ago but has yet to find a buyer. According to SuperYachtFan, the Ragnar is up for sale at $85 million, and recently lost a chartered trip due to its status in Narvik, Norway.
No one will let the crew leave the port, however, due to its connection to Vladimir Strzhalkovsky.
The Russian oligarch made headlines back in 2017, when members of Congress asked former Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross about his connections to the Bank of Cyprus. At the time, Strzhalkovsky was the vice chairman.
Though Strzhalkovsky has no involvement with the Russian invasion, anti-Russian sentiments swept across Europe for anyone connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Although it’s hard to determine the death toll in Ukraine due to misinformation and lack of records as the war rages on, U.S. officials reported that 2,000 to 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed as of March 10.
Thousands of Ukrainian civilians are also believed to have been killed over the past two weeks, CBS News reported. Russian troops are currently a couple days away from piercing Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. On Tuesday, Moscow also retaliated against the United States with sanctions of their own in return.
“Why should we help them?” local oil supplier Sven Holmlund told NRK News about the Russian superyacht’s crew. “They can row home. Or use a sail.”