Ukraine Demands Russia to Return the USSR’s Property in the UK

by Olha Povaliaieva
Monday, August 1, 2022
Ukraine Demands Russia to Return the USSR’s Property in the UK

After the collapse of the Union, Russia ignored Ukraine's beneficial interest in foreign property and misappropriated real estate

Ambassador of Ukraine to the UK Vadym Prystaiko resumed Ukraine's struggle for foreign property, which our country has the right to own after the collapse of the USSR. In particular, after the Union's collapse, hundreds of millions of pounds of the property remained in the UK, for which Ukraine, as a founding member of the Union, challenged Russia's ownership in 1999. Of all the former 15 republics, Ukraine became the only country that filed a lawsuit: Russia "dealt" with the rest of the republics. Volodymyr Vasylenko, at that time Ukraine's ambassador to the UK, filed a statement about Ukraine's "beneficial interest" in the former Soviet Union's property in the UK.

"The issue of the equal distribution of the property of the former USSR remains unresolved," Vadym Prystaiko.

John Sandweg, a former general counsel of the US Department for Homeland Security, said: "Documents demonstrate that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation took possession of an extensive array of properties around the world, ignoring Ukraine's ownership stake. The Russians simply stole hundreds of millions in real estate. The continued possession of those properties is now contributing to their terrorism of the Ukrainian people."

Liz Truss, British foreign secretary, announced the possibility of sanctions freezing and confiscating Russian property and the transfer of property to Ukraine. The Times journalists conducted an investigation, and according to its results, Ukraine has the right to claim 18 objects misappropriated by Russia. These properties include numerous chateaus, apartment buildings in London's elite areas, castles, estates with tennis courts and cottages, with a combined value of more than £400 million. Only 2 out of 18 objects are classified as diplomatic premises; the function of the remaining premises is unclear.

Which specific premises can be confiscated from Russia and transferred to Ukraine.

  • The 19th-century castle of Seacox Heath on the border of Kent and East Sussex. The castle is listed as a grade II building and is now used by Russian diplomats and spies as a hideout and event space for the closed "Russian" circle.
  • There are also several properties in the Highgate area of ​​north London that could be worth up to £100 million in aggregate. There is also one of the most expensive apartments in London, which is still in possession of a Russian oligarch and, accordingly, is now frozen by sanctions.
  • In the same area is Witanhurst — the second largest house in London after Buckingham Palace. Its estimated value is £300 million, and so far, it belongs to the oligarch Andrey Guryev.
  • A luxurious apartment building in Kensington, 3 houses in Holland Park and a castle in East Sussex — this also rightfully belongs to Ukraine.
  • Seacox Heath (on this article's cover) is one of the UK's largest estates on 30 acres of land. Tennis courts, 2 cottages and a football field are located on this territory. KGB agents operated here during the Cold War.
  • An 1871 French-chateau estate that was formerly owned by the Viscount of Goschen. The viscount donated the estate to the Soviet Union because the sailors of the USSR saved his son. The estate was turned into a country residence after Russia in the 1900s, and now it's someone's dacha.

Vadym Prystaiko has reopened the case on the transfer of Ukraine's rightfully owned property and calls on the ambassadors of other countries to open similar lawsuits against Russia. Prystaiko hopes that the British court will help Ukraine confiscate the property it misappropriated from Russia after the collapse of the USSR. Ukraine will use the proceeds to rebuild our economy and infrastructure after the war.

At the same time, the Ru embassy in the UK said that "Russia, as the sole continuator state of the former Soviet Union, has assumed rights to all Soviet properties abroad and, unlike Ukraine, has repaid all Soviet debts." also, according to Russia, Ukraine's claims to Soviet property abroad have no basis at the international level, and diplomatic premises are protected by immunity.

But don't pay attention to the words of the Russian embassy about diplomacy because this embassy does not know what diplomacy is. We remind you that on July 29, the Russian embassy in the UK officially announced that the fighters of the Ukrainian Azov regiment should be put to humiliating death by hanging.

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