Huge police response as squatters occupy Belgravia mansion owned by oligarch Oleg Deripaska

Signs were hung on the balcony saying ‘this property has been liberated’ and ‘Putin go f*** yourself’

'This is just the beginning': Squatters occupy London mansion ‘owned by Russian oligarch’ in anti-war protest
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The Met Police has been criticised after sending nine vans to deal with five squatters holed up in a mansion reported to belong to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

The people have been occupying the property in Belgrave Square since early Monday morning and have hung signs on the balcony saying “This property has been liberated” and “Putin go f*** yourself”.

One man at the scene told reporters the group broke into the property at around 1am and were intending to “use the house Ukrainian refugees and refugees from all nations”.

Met Police cordoned off the building and it has been surrounded by heavy police presence, with dozens of officers.

The level of police response has prompted derision on social media. One user said: “I hope you will deploy the same level of resources to domestic burglaries from now on?”

Police officers enter the mansion belonging to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska

And another said on Twitter: “Interesting use of police resources on display today in #BelgraveSquare, London – eight vans outside #Deripaska‘s mansion to evict five (5!) squatters.”

When asked by The Independent why so much police resource has been sent to evict the squatters, a spokesman for the Met said the “response would be proportionate to the circumstances and I believe this has changed throughout the day”.

Mr Deripaska, an industrialist who has had close links with the British political establishment, was targeted with sanctions by the Government last week.

A protester tries to push away a ladder being used by police officers

He was described as “a prominent Russian businessman and pro-Kremlin oligarch”, who is “closely associated” with both the Russian government and president Vladimir Putin.

His wealth is estimated to be £2.3bn and he has a multimillion-pound property portfolio in the UK which, according to a 2007 High Court judgment, includes the house at 5 Belgrave Square. Records indicate it has not changed hands since and is owned by an offshore British Virgin Islands company.

The squatters call themselves the London Mahknovists – after Nestor Makhno, who led an anarchist force that attempted to form a stateless society in Ukraine during the Russian Revolution of 1917-1923.

Scotland Yard said in a statement: “Officers have completed a search of the property in Belgrave Square and are satisfied there are no protesters inside.

“We continue to engage with those on the balcony as we balance the need for enforcement with the safety of all involved.”

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