Activists have claimed they have broken into a French villa purportedly owned by a former relative of Vladimir Putin, saying they intend to house Ukrainian refugees there.
Videos posted online show a man waving the Ukrainian flag from the balcony of a villa – said to be located in the French seaside town of Biarritz – as well as a tour of the luxurious interior.
The videos also carry text in French and Ukrainian, saying: “Victory at Biarritz – the taking of Putin’s palace” and “Now the People’s Mansion is ready to welcome the refugees of Putin’s regime”.
One of the activists, Pierre Haffner, told independent Russian newspaper The Insider that while inspecting the villa he found documents that appeared to belong to Putin’s former son-in-law Kirill Shamalov, and Russian oligarch Gennady Timchenko, a close friend of Putin.
The Insider said the villa was once owned by Timchenko and later transferred to Shamalov, citing local property records.
Another activist, Vladimir Osechkin, said on Facebook that they intended to submit a proposal to local authorities to use the villa as a shelter for refugees, adding that it was big enough to house dozens of people.
The BBC cannot immediately verify these claims.
But Biarritz is known to be popular with wealthy Russians, and members of Putin’s family reportedly own property in the town.