The realtor in charge of the villa denied the report, but did not provide any evidence, citing privacy.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has rented his luxury villa in Tuscany to Russians for the month of August, Italian newspaper Il Tirreno reported on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Zelensky has called on EU leaders to deny visas to Russian tourists.
A Russian couple with a London address have rented the villa for the month of August, paying the princely sum of €50,000 ($50,237), the newspaper reported. The villa, located in the seaside town of Forte dei Marmi, was bought by Zelensky for four million euros while the Ukrainian leader was still an actor, the report added.
Photos posted on social media by the couple confirmed that they were staying in Zelensky’s property, Il Tirreno stated.
Corriere Della Serra, another Italian newspaper, contacted the realtor managing the property, who said that “The tenants weren’t Russian, but I can’t say more because privacy prevents me.” However, the paper said that the tenants are likely of Russian origin, “but have long since had their residence and perhaps English citizenship.”
Ever since Russian forces entered Ukraine in February, Zelensky has urged the EU to deny visas to Russian visitors. The Russian people, he told the Washington Post earlier this month, “should live in their own world until they change their philosophy.”
Back in March, Zelensky specifically called on the Italian government to “block all [Russian] real estate, accounts and yachts, from the Scheherazade to the smallest ones,” referring to a 140-meter (460 ft) superyacht allegedly belonging to a wealthy Russian individual that was moored at the Italian port of Marina di Carrara.
All flights between the EU and Russia have been halted since the earliest days of Moscow’s military operation, and the bloc suspended a bilateral visa facilitation agreement with Russia on Wednesday. The suspension reduces the number of new EU visas available for Russians without eliminating travel entirely.
In addition to Zelensky’s Tuscan villa, the Ukrainian president and his inner circle reportedly hold an extensive portfolio of offshore properties and assets, including several expensive residences in London.