Home World Russia ‘rented out Prague apartments to pay for Ukraine invasion’

Russia ‘rented out Prague apartments to pay for Ukraine invasion’

Russia ‘rented out Prague apartments to pay for Ukraine invasion’

Mr Lipavsky told the Telegraph during a trip to London: “Putin is controlling the properties and Putin is the perpetrator of the brutal, imperialistic war against Ukraine.”

“The purpose of sanctions is to prohibit the use of the money, raised by using the properties, to support the war activity of Russia against Ukraine.”

“My country was occupied by the Soviets and we have no interest in living in Russia’s world again,” he added, “so the fight against Russian imperialism will always remain our eternal fight”.

The new measures, which go further than existing EU sanctions, mean that the Kremlin will not be able to sell the properties.

The rent for the properties, including several apartment blocks, will go into a frozen bank account, which Moscow will not have access to. Anyone continuing to try and pay rent in cash would be guilty of a criminal offence, the government said.

The intergovernmental agreements signed before the Velvet Revolution in 1989 said they could only be used by Soviet employees rather than for commercial purposes.

“The properties in question must be used in accordance with the applicable intergovernmental agreements. It is not permissible to rent them out to third parties, for example through Booking.com,” Michal Bucháček, a ministry spokesman, said after 2019 reports that two apartments on Ovenecká Street were advertised on the site.

Booking.com told the Telegraph it would not be able to comment, without knowing which apartments were concerned or whether they were still listed.

Some of the apartments are dotted around Prague’s affluent Bubenč district, which boasts a villa district and is near the city centre. They were not advertised as Russian embassy-run.

£900 a month

Tenants said they would pay about £250 a month in cash for their rent. One 54 metre square flat was offered as a short-term rental to tourists for about £900 a month.

Denik N estimated that the Russian embassy could be earning hundreds of thousands of pounds a month.

Mr Lipavsky, who is a strident supporter of Ukraine, refused to give details on how much the properties were worth.

The sanctions against the Goszagransobstvennost agency is the first in the EU and the foreign minister will push for Brussels to impose similar measures against it across the bloc.

The frozen properties do not include the Russian Embassy itself, which is subject to Vienna Convention rules for diplomatic missions.

The Czech Republic has been among the strongest backers of Ukraine since the February 2022 invasion by Russia.


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