Mar 14, 2022 - World

U.K. considers housing Ukraine refugees in Russian oligarch mansions

Occupied London mansion

Police enter a mansion, reportedly owned by members of billionaire Oleg Deripaska's family, during preparations to remove people occupying the building on March 14. Photo: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.K. government is looking into the possibility of housing Ukrainian refugees in the mansions of sanctioned Russian oligarchs, according to the Press Association.

Driving the news: Over 2.8 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia launched its unprovoked invasion nearly three weeks ago.

State of play: The U.K. has sanctioned a number of Russian oligarchs in the wake of the invasion, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed that "there can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine."

  • Ministers have faced calls to repurpose their seized properties to house Ukrainian refugees, but the government warned Monday that doing so would first require new legislation to be passed, per the Press Association.

A spokesperson for 10 Downing Street confirmed at a press conference Monday the government is "looking at" the idea.

  • "We are working to identify the appropriate use for seized properties while owners are subject to sanctions," the spokesperson said, per the Guardian.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan told "Good Morning Britain" on Monday that he supported the idea of housing refugees in the seized mansions, calling the idea "poetic justice."

Worth noting: Protesters have already taken over a mansion in central London believed to belong to sanctioned billionaire industrialist Oleg Deripaska. Standing on the mansion's balcony, the protesters told reporters they were "demanding this property belong to Ukrainian refugees," per the BBC.

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