The popular Russian media figure, who has often been critical of President Vladimir Putin, flew to Lithuania a day after police searched her home.
Russian media personality Ksenia Sobchak, the glamorous goddaughter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has arrived in Lithuania on an Israeli passport, officials said Thursday.
A day before her property was searched by Russian police as part of a criminal case against her commercial director. The state news agency TASS reported, citing law enforcement agencies, that Sobchak herself was not a suspect.
However, Sobchak hinted on her Telegram channel that the case that triggered the search was politically motivated and linked to a documentary she had made about the use of torture in Russian prisons.
Why did Ksenia Sobchak fly to Lithuania?
Russian media claimed Sobchak bought tickets to Dubai and Turkey to mislead the authorities but eventually left for Belarus, from where she traveled to Lithuania.
“Citizens of (Israel) do not need a visa and are allowed to stay in the country for 90 days,” Darius Jauniskis, head of Lithuania’s State Security Department, told a local radio station. Jauniskis said Lithuania has no evidence of any threat that Sobchak could pose to national security.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told reporters that “Ms. Sobchak currently is not included in any sanctions list of the EU, UK or the US. This does not mean that it cannot occur.”
Lithuania and other Baltic states along with Poland stopped admitting Russian citizens with valid Schengen visas back in September. Hundreds were turned away, but many entered anyway, after presenting other countries’ passports at the border.
Israel’s daily Haaretz newspaper reported in April that Sobchak acquired Israeli citizenship after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.