the jets of the Russian oligarchs

A few weeks ago, a 19-year-old college student named Jack Sweeney shot to fame after it was revealed he was monitoring the flights of Tesla and Space X CEO Elon Musk. The young man publishes all the movements of the private jet of the billionaire on the Twitter account of Elon’s Jet, and he is not the only one. Jack Sweeney also follows the planes of Bill Gates, Drake and Jeff Bezos. Sweeney now has a new target: the oligarchs and members of the Russian elite.

In the midst of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on Thursday February 24, this 19-year-old student created Russian Oliarch Jets (@RUOliarchJets), a Twitter account on which Sweeney tracks helicopters, private and commercial jets. large jets of influential members of Russia’s elite, including Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich, the country’s richest person, according to Bloomberg.

Roman Abramovich or Alexander Abramov, among the targets

Photo by Roman Abramovich

Martin Meissner/AP

Sweeney posted the first tweet on Sunday February 27, just after the United States sanctioned several members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and pledged to freeze their assets, including their yachts and mansions, in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine. Yet Russian oligarchs continue to fly around the world in private jets and yachts despite severe financial penalties. According to CNBCsome of Russia’s wealthiest businessmen began moving their yachts to Montenegro and the Maldives to avoid confiscation.

Sweeney follows and publishes on the Twitter account @RUOligarJets the movements of the most influential people in Russia, and at the same time, the closest to Putin and his delusions. Two examples. On Monday, the owner of British football team Chelsea FC, Roman Abramovich, visited Moscow and Codrington, a town in Antigua and Barbuda. At the same time, a plane belonging to steel magnate Alexander Abramov landed in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. All this while a war already condemned by the whole world is unfolding in the heart of Europe.

The @RUOliarchJets Twitter account already has nearly 100,000 followers. And it’s not the only one. Sweeney also monitors Vladimir Putin’s planes @PutinJet, as well as 15 other flight tracking accounts. The young man uses a bot he created that automatically posts when a celebrity’s private jet takes off or lands at an airport. In statements to CNBCSweeney claimed that before the invasion of Ukraine, he didn’t even know these oligarchs existed.

$5,000 in exchange for closing the account that monitors Musk’s flights

Jack Sweeney rose to fame after publicize the movements of billionaire Elon Musk’s private jet. In private messages, the CEO of Tesla and Space X asked the young man to close the account, because he considers it a risk for his security (that of Elon). “Yes, I can, but it will cost you a (Tesla) Model 3,” Sweeney replied.

During the conversation, Musk confessed to Sweeney that he “was not comfortable with the idea of ​​being shot by a madman” and offered the boy $5,000 to cease the activity of the account. The teenager made him an even more lucrative counter-offer: $50,000. “It would be a big help for college and maybe buy me a car, maybe a Model 3,” he replied. Musk didn’t give him a dollar and stuck to blocking the student’s account.

Objective of the sanctions: to pressure Putin to withdraw his armies from Ukraine

Since the start of the invasion on February 24, the United States and the European Union have joined forces to increase sanctions against the Russian economy in general, and in particular to attack the pockets of Putin and Russian billionaires. The ultimate goal is to pressure the Russian president to withdraw his armies from Ukraine, which have already caused an avalanche of refugees, deaths and material damage, among many other consequences.

FILE - In this screen grab from video provided by the Russian Defense Ministry's press service on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, a Russian tank rolls during a military exercise at a training ground in the region from Rostov, Russia.  The Kremlin, which has denied having invasion plans, scoffed at an argument that it wants to see the ground frozen to launch an attack on Ukraine.  Ukrainian officials agree that mud is not a problem.  (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

a russian tank

PA

Faced with heavy sanctions from Western forces, oligarchs and members of the Russian elite have already begun to denounce Putin’s war. The first to do so was Deripaska, known for his closeness to the Kremlin and his investments in projects such as the Sochi Games. The metal magnate, founder of the aluminum empire Rusal, posted a message on his Telegram channel saying: “Peace is very important. Negotiations must start as soon as possible.” Also Román Abramóvitch; Tatiana Yumásheva, youngest daughter of Putin’s predecessor Boris Yeltsin; Alexei Stoliarov, son-in-law of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu; Sergei Chemezov’s son, a personal friend of Putin and head of state-owned Rostec; and the daughter of English oligarch and owner of Chelsea Román Abramóvich, Sofía.


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