Police worked to clear out a group of squatters who took over a mansion in London in what appeared to be a pro-Ukraine protest Monday.
The group gained access to the mansion in London's upscale Belgrave Square neighborhood and hung signs from the balcony, according to photos and a statement from Metropolitan Police. The protesters put up a Ukrainian flag, as well as signs that read "This property has been liberated" and "Power breeds parasites."
Met Police said they had searched the building and were satisfied it had been cleared of people inside.
"We continue to engage with four people on the balcony as we balance the need for enforcement with the safety of all involved," police said in a statement.
Protesters appeared to target the mansion because of its reported ties to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who was one of the Russian elites the British government recently sanctioned in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
London High Court documents from 2007 identified Deripaska as the beneficial owner of the Belgrave Square mansion. But the BBC has reported that public records show the mansion is owned and held by Ravellot Limited.
The named contact for Ravellot Limited, Graham Bonham-Carter, has five bank accounts that are subject to freezing orders over his alleged links to Deripaska, the National Crime Agency said.
“We can confirm that the NCA has secured two Account Freezing Orders in respect of five bank accounts held by Mr Graham Bonham-Carter,” the NCA said in a statement shared with CNBC.
The protesters at the mansion described themselves in a statement as anarchists.
“By occupying this mansion, we want to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine, but also the people of Russia who never agreed to this madness," they said.
Deripaska was among two dozen Russian oligarchs and officials who were sanctioned by the Treasury Department in April 2018. FBI agents swarmed his Washington, D.C., home in October in what law enforcement officials described as an investigation tied to the sanctions.
A spokeswoman for Deripaska said at the time that the home belonged to Deripaska's relatives.