Police just stormed the mansion of a Russian oligarch to arrest squatters flying a Ukraine flag

March 14, 2022, 2:47 PM UTC

A London mansion owned by members of Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska’s family has been occupied by protesters opposing the invasion of Ukraine, sparking a confrontation with police. 

The group made their way into the home on Belgrave Square — one of the city’s most affluent districts —  at 1 a.m. this morning, according to a member of the group, who declined to give his name.  Almost 20 police in riot gear broke the front door down just before 12:30 p.m. Within 10 minutes, they had gained access, though occupiers remain inside. 

People protesting the invasion of Ukraine occupy a mansion
The group plan to remain in the property until the war is over and all of the refugees have been housed
Jason Alden—Bloomberg/Getty Images

A Ukrainian flag and banners hung from the home’s windows, including one saying “This property has been liberated.” The protesters say they were inspired by Nestor Makhno, who led a Ukrainian anarchist army in 1917. 

U.K. Sanctions Abramovich, Deripaska on Russia’s War in Ukraine 

The occupiers had planned to remain in the property until the war is over and refugees streaming out of Ukraine have been housed, the protester said earlier.  An earlier attempt by police to gain access via a neighbor’s balcony failed after the occupiers kicked the ladder away from the building. 

Cabinet member Michael Gove, whose brief includes housing and communities, has floated the idea of using the homes of sanctioned Russians to house Ukrainian refugees. Deripaska was sanctioned by the U.K. last week after the country tightened restrictions on high-profile Russians. 

Deripaska’s spokesperson, who did not immediately reply to a request for comment, told the Guardian newspaper that the property is owned by members of the billionaire’s family.

Deripaska, the founder of aluminum giant United Co. Rusal International PJSC, has called for peace talks on Telegram without mentioning Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

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