Four arrested for trying to breach cordon around squat at oligarch’s mansion

They were stopped by police near the property belonging to Oleg Deripaska in Belgrave Square, west London.

14 March 2022

Four people have been arrested after trying to breach a cordon outside a Russian oligarch’s London mansion which has been occupied by squatters.

They were stopped by police near the property belonging to Oleg Deripaska in Belgrave Square, west London, at around 6.30pm on Monday.

The Metropolitan Police said: “Four people, inc the two detained earlier, have been arrested after attempting to gain access to the row of buildings where a protest remains ongoing in Belgrave Square, W1.

“Officers remain on scene engaging with four people who remain on the balcony of a building there.”

The squatters broke into the property at around 1am on Monday and declared that it “belongs to Ukrainian refugees”.

The street has been cordoned off with at least 10 police vehicles and more than 30 officers at the scene.

A Scotland Yard spokesperson said officers completed a search of the property early in the afternoon and found no protesters inside.

Police in riot gear enter the property
Police in riot gear enter the property (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Officers wearing harnesses first tried to deploy a ladder to access the balcony but after the squatters sat in the way to obstruct them, a JCB crane was moved in to lift them up instead.

Police wearing riot gear used a drill to break open the front door and enter the house.

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 1917-23.

They hung a Ukrainian flag and two signs which read “this property has been liberated” and “Putin go f*** yourself”.

Russian invasion of Ukraine
The squatters have been occupying the property since around 1pm on Monday (Jonathan Brady/PA)

They also danced, played music and one man sang lines from the Dirty Dancing song (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life.

Mr Deripaska has been described as “a prominent Russian businessman and pro-Kremlin oligarch” who is “closely associated” with the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin.

His wealth is estimated to be £2.3 billion and he has a multimillion-pound property portfolio in the UK which includes the house at 5 Belgrave Square, according to a 2007 High Court judgment.

Records indicate it has not changed hands since and is owned by an offshore British Virgin Islands company.

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