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UKRAINE

Activists seize French villa belonging to Putin’s daughter

A pair of activists have broken into a luxury villa in Biarritz belonging to Russian President Vladimir Putin's daughter, renaming it 'Villa Ukraine' and offering it to refugees.

Activists seize French villa belonging to Putin's daughter
The villa is in the seaside town of Biarritz. Illustration photo by GAIZKA IROZ / AFP

Two Russian protesters stormed the French villa belonging to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s daughter on Sunday, hoisting a Ukranian flag and changing the locks. 

A video posted by Pierre Lapurdi, a self described “Russian blogger in exile”, who writes under the pen name Pierre Haffner, provides a glimpse inside the luxury Biarritz building, which he dubbed “the castle of Putin”. 

He has since been arrested according to a post on his social media account. His accomplice, a whistleblower called Sergei Savelyev, is also thought to have been arrested. 

 

An exiled Russian dissident called Vladimir Osechkin called for their release from custody, in a Facebook post.

“These nice people have not done anything wrong. They and we have all proposed using the villas of Russian oligarchs to welcome Ukrainian refugees,” he said. 

“Police must protect the people, not the oligarchs.”

An independent Russian news media called The Insider reported that the activists had found a copy of a passport belonging to Kirill Shamalov, the ex-husband of  Katerina Tikhonova (Putin’s daughter), at the property.

According to French radio station Europe 1 the Putin family owns at least three properties in Biarritz. Close friends and associates of the family, as well as a former Russian spy, have been spotted in the southwestern city in recent years. 

French intelligence services are said to routinely run counter-espionage operations in the city. 

Authorities have seized a number of Russian assets in recent weeks including a €108m yacht moored off the south of France, belonging to an oligarch named Igor Sechin. 

France and the EU have slapped heavy economic sanctions on Russia after it launched an invasion of Ukraine last month. 

Member comments

  1. So it begins. Just what it was like in Germany in the 30s. What next, breaking windows of Russian owned businesses and houses, or are they going to have to wear an emblem showing who they are. All these Governments never learn and are just pandering to the mob.

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UKRAINE

France ‘strongly condemns’ Russia’s expulsion of its diplomats

France "strongly condemns" the expulsion of 34 of its diplomats by Russia, the foreign ministry said Wednesday, a tit-for-tat move by Moscow after Paris ordered some Russian staff to leave.

France 'strongly condemns' Russia's expulsion of its diplomats

Saying the step had “no legitimate basis”, the ministry said in a statementthat “the work of the diplomats and staff at (France’s) embassy in Russia… takes place fully within the framework of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic and consular relations” — whereas Paris expelled the Russian staff in April on suspicion of being spies.

Moscow said Wednesday it was expelling 34 “employees of French diplomatic missions” in a tit-for-tat move following the
expulsion of Russian diplomats from France as part of joint European action over Russia’s campaign in Ukraine.

“Thirty four employees of French diplomatic missions in Russia have been declared persona non grata,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that they have two weeks to leave the country.

Moscow made the announcement after summoning France’s ambassador to Russia, Pierre Levy, and telling him that the expulsion of 41 employees of Russian diplomatic missions was a “provocative and unfounded decision”, the statement
said.

“It has been stressed that this step causes serious damage to Russian-French relations and constructive bilateral cooperation,” the foreign ministry said.

French President Emmanuel Macron initially led diplomatic outreach to the Kremlin over Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine but his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin have eventually tapered off and overt French military
support to Ukraine has increased in recent months.

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