Zelensky’s penthouse seized in Crimea
The Crimean parliament has unanimously voted to nationalize the assets of Ukrainian oligarchs and politicians on the peninsula, RIA Novosti news agency reported on Wednesday, citing the State Council’s press service.
Among the assets is an apartment belonging to Elena Zelenskaya, the wife of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, Crimean Governor Sergey Aksyonov announced on Telegram.
More than 130 properties have reportedly been confiscated, among them a cinema, factories, shopping malls, wineries, and banking structures.
Last February the Crimean parliament also voted to nationalize about 500 properties belonging to Ukrainian politicians and businessmen.
Zelenskaya’s three-room penthouse on the Black Sea coast near the resort city of Yalta is estimated to be worth $800,000. It was bought from a business tycoon in 2013 for just under $164,000. After Zelensky won the presidential election in April 2019, Reuters reported that the price paid for the property was at least 50% lower than the market rate.
The seizures come in response to a law introduced in Ukraine last year making it legal to confiscate the assets of Russian citizens and businesses without compensation. In August, Kiev approved confiscations of more than 900 Russian-owned properties in the country, reportedly worth $765 million.
Russia has seen its state and private assets worth billions of dollars frozen or confiscated in Western countries since the start the military operation in Ukraine. The US and its EU allies have since been looking for ways to give the assets to Ukraine for reconstruction.
The Crimean Peninsula was part of Ukraine until 2014, when it voted in a referendum to join Russia after the Maidan coup resulted in the overthrow of the democratically elected government in Kiev.
Profits from the sales of the nationalized assets, including Zelensky’s apartment, will be used to help the families of soldiers killed in the military operation in Ukraine, the speaker of the Crimean Parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov, was quoted as saying by Russia’s TASS news agency.
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