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France seizes ship targeted by U.S. sanctions on Russia

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STORY: France has seized a cargo ship in the English Channel that the U.S. says was linked to the son of a former Russian spy chief.

The "Baltic Leader" was headed to St. Petersburg but was diverted to the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer in the early hours of Saturday (February 26), according to the French Maritime Prefecture.

It is one of the first visible displays of the West enforcing sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

The United States Treasury Department has issued blocking sanctions against the vessel, saying it is owned by a subsidiary of Promsvyazbank.

The Russian lender and its CEO, Pyotr Fradkov, have been included in U.S. sanctions.

Fradkov is the son of Mikhail Fradkov, a former head of Russia's foreign intelligence service who also served as prime minister under Vladimir Putin.

The United States, the European Union, and other Western states this week imposed extensive new financial and trade sanctions on Russia after it sent military forces into neighboring Ukraine.

Promsvyazbank said its subsidiary no longer owns the Baltic Leader, and that it was bought by a different entity before the sanctions were imposed.

In a statement, the Russian embassy in Paris said it will send a note of protest to the French foreign ministry.