The European Union has agreed to impose sanctions on the “Night Wolves,” a notorious pro-Kremlin biker gang, as part of the bloc’s latest penalties over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Financial Times reported Friday.
The Night Wolves are famous for their nationalist leanings, provocative pro-Kremlin trips to Europe and ties with President Vladimir Putin. The group is under United States sanctions for allegedly recruiting and supporting separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine following Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.
A meeting of EU foreign ministers agreed on sanctions against the Night Wolves as part of a ban on Russian gold imports last week, FT reported.
Alexander Zaldostanov, the Night Wolves’ leader who goes by the nickname “The Surgeon,” told FT that EU sanctions “have no meaning” for him.
“If we will no longer be able to make the trips then our friends, our brothers, will come here [to Russia] instead,” Zaldostanov said at the prospect of being banned from driving across the EU.
He voiced his support for Moscow’s current invasion of Ukraine with the claim that Russia and Ukraine are “one country… all a unified and indivisible Russia.”
Putin has ridden with the Night Wolves on a three-wheeled bike several times over the past decade and awarded Zaldostanov the Order of Honor in 2013.