‘Villa Special Operation’: Ukrainian colors painted on Putin's daughter Katerina Tikhonova's villa
Ukrainian flags have been painted all over a French villa that is a favorite hangout for Russian President Vladimir Putin's daughter. Katerina Tikhonova's luxurious hideaway is in Biarritz of France and has eight bedrooms and three baths. The property is presently held by Tikhonova's ex-husband, Kirill Shamalov. On Sunday (March 20), two Russian protestors stormed on the French property of Russian President Vladimir Putin's daughter, flying a Ukrainian flag, painted the fences of the villa, and changed the locks.
The photograph of the vandalized villa's front gate was shared on Reddit's r/ukraine thread, where internet users have been sharing updates on Russia's continuing invasion of Ukraine. The photograph shows several blue and yellow Ukrainian flags painted across a closed entry. One Reddit user mocked it by remarking it as ‘Villa Special Operation’ which referred to Putin claiming invasion of Ukraine as a ‘special military operation.’ “If Russia is so great why does she need a French villa? I say seize it from back taxes and house Ukrainian refugees. She can do her part for the right side of the war effort.” another user added. “Deport her. She shouldn’t get to live luxuriously while her father murders people,” yet another person remarked.
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Earlier, Pierre Lapurdi, a self-described 'Russian blogger in exile' who writes under the pen name Pierre Haffner, posted a video showing inside the luxurious Biarritz building called 'Putin's castle.' According to a post on his social media account, he has subsequently been detained. His accomplice, Sergei Savelyev, a whistleblower, is also believed to have been arrested. In a Facebook post, an exiled Russian dissident named Vladimir Osechkin called for their release. “These nice people have not done anything wrong. They and we have all proposed using the villas of Russian oligarchs to welcome Ukrainian refugees. Police must protect the people, not the oligarchs.” he claimed. The activists also discovered a copy of Kirill Shamalov's passport, the ex-husband of Katerina Tikhonova (Putin's daughter), at the house, according to The Insider, an independent Russian news outlet.
The Putin family has at least three residences in Biarritz, according to French radio station Europe 1. In recent years, close family friends and allies, as well as a former Russian agent, have been observed in this southwestern city of France. Counter-espionage operations are believed to be conducted regularly in the city by French intelligence agencies. In recent weeks, authorities have confiscated a number of Russian assets, including a €108 million yacht docked off the coast of France and belonging to oligarch Igor Sechin. Apart from that, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine last month, France and the EU imposed harsh economic sanctions on the country.