Oligarch’s £50m Belgravia mansion occupied by squatters ‘to give property to Ukrainian refugees’

Activists occupied a mansion, which is owned by the family of oligarch Oleg Deripaska, and said they wanted to give the home to refugees.

An oligarch family’s £50million central London mansion has been occupied by squatters who are flying a Ukrainian flag and anti-Putin banners from the windows.

The palatial property in exclusive Belgravia, belongs to the family of Oleg Deripaska, one of seven oligarchs sanctioned by the UK Government last week.

Activists broke into seven-bedroom 5 Belgrave Square in the early hours of this morning before hanging Ukrainian flags and banners.

One banner read “the property has been liberated” while another stated “Putin go f**k yourself”.

More than a dozen riot police arrived and cut a hole in the door.

They are now trying to negotiate with the activists to try and get them to leave from a JCB in front of the house.

The group occupying the property are calling themselves the London Makhnovists, referencing the Ukrainian anarchist Nestor Makhno.

Protestors occupying 5 Belgrave Square, which is owned by the family of a sanctioned oligarch.

They said they wanted to give the house to Ukrainian refugees, and warned of a “summer of anarchy”.

Makhno was the commander of the Revolutionary Insurgent Army of Ukraine, who occupied the houses of wealthy Russian during the 1917 revolution.

One activist told LondonWorld: “We want to give these properties to war refugees.

“It’s what they deserve.

“These people supported war for a lot of years. Seizing their property is the least they deserve.

“What the hell is going on?”

The squatters in 5 Belgrave Square.

Another of the squatters, who appeared to be in his early 20s, said: “There was no forceful entry whatsoever. We are using our human rights to protest.

“We are here to protest the property of a Russian oligarch and a war mongerer.

“This government are not only acting illegally, they are acting immorally.

“This property belongs to Ukrainian refugees.”

A squatter in an oligarch-linked property in 5 Belgrave Square.

Another man said: “We are planning to stay until Putin stops the war.

“Putin is responsible for people losing their homes and lands. Sanctions are not enough.

“The Government has delayed action - they are playing games.”

Belgrave Square houses several Embassies. No 5 was once home of Sir George Murray, the British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, until he died there in 1846, and later housed the Institute of Directors.

A Twitter account called Resist London said: “The squatters are using a version of the Section 6 notice known as the ‘protest defence’, in which they do not intend to live and sleep at the property, but are instead occupying it as a protest, on rotation.

“This is because of the 2012 law change on residential property.”

Police in a JCB negotiating with the protesters.

A Met Police spokesman said: “Police were called shortly after 1am on Monday to a residential property in Belgrave Square.

“Officers attended and found that a number of people had gained entry and hung banners from upstairs windows. Officers remain at the location.”

Just after 12.30pm, a number of riot police cut a hole in the door and stormed the property.

The protesters, shouting at police from the edge of the balcony, asked why the British state was protecting this property.

“How us it legal? F***ing disgusting fascists. Everyone f***ing hates you,” they said.

An activist - one of five - told LondonWorld that the riot police were asking them to leave from inside the building.

He said that the group have no leader - “we are anarchists” - and he is from eastern Europe living in London, while other members are from other countries.

Supporters of the protesters arrived in the afternoon at the edge of the police cordon, including a man blowing bubbles.

At around 3pm, police on a JCB parked in front of the house attempted to get the squatters to leave.

The squatters called out to the crowd to bring them pizza.

At 3.45pm they still had not left, however the police had removed a “Putin go f*** yourself” banner.

Deripaska, whose family own the building, was one of the Russian oligarchs who profited off the sale of the state’s assets after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

He was described as winning the “aluminium wars” in the 1990s, and until 2018 was in charge of United Company Rusal, the second-largest aluminium company in the world.

Deripaska, who Forbes estimates is worth £3.14billion, is allegedly very close to Putin.

The occupied house went on the market for £25m in 2002, which would have made it the most expensive terraced house in the world, however now estate agents estimate it is worth around £50m.

The Grade I-listed pad has seven bedrooms all with en-suites, seven reception rooms, a home cinema, a Turkish bath and a gym.

There is also a separate mews house with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, as well as a garden and double garage.

Crowds gathered to support protestors occupying the multi-million pound mansion.

Supporters told LondonWorld how they were surprised by the heavy police presence.

Jim Curran, a long-standing activist whose photo went viral alongside a Black Lives Matter protestor last summer said: “I am an activist myself - I’ve been an activist in a whole host of campaigns since 1967.

“I supported Occupy and Black Lives Matter and all the different groups.

“When I heard they had taken over an oligarch’s residence I came down here just to give them a bit of moral support.

“They are focusing attention on criminal activity.”

While a fellow activist who did not want to be named said: “It’s cold in Russia and Ukraine right now - we’re alright relatively speaking.

“There’s a lot of developments happening to do with the police getting more power than they already have.

“If they felt like you were protesting or you were on the street and they felt like grabbing you, they would have legal backing to do that.

“I don’t know if it was a break in, I heard there was a spirit of someone who opened the window for them.

“This has happened quite spontaneously.

“Being here to observe, being present, showing support.

“Supposedly in Britain we have at 291,000 empty buildings as of November 2021… when you consider how many people are in unstable homes.”

And Jeanne, a cafe worker from France, added: “I believe they are doing a form of protest that makes a lot more sense than just marching around which doesn’t really do much anymore it seems.

“And it’s really brilliant because they said they are going to reoccupy the property that belongs to these guys, oligarchs, friends of Putin, and repurpose it for the refugees.

“I think that’s genius - that’s the best thing you can do to show support. We can’t do much from here but still.

“I’m surprised, I didn’t expect police to be so on it, really it’s just a bunch of people protesting peacefully.

“Why do you need all these vans and all this? It costs money - this is expensive.

“You could have sent this for aid for the Ukrainians. Instead they just want to brutalise people.”

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