EU state seizing Russian property – media

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Dozens of real estate objects belonging to the Russian government have been sealed off in the Czech Republic, the Czech News Agency (CTK) reported on Friday, citing the country’s cadastral register.

Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said the measure targets roughly 70 properties, located mainly in Prague, Central Bohemia and Karlovy Vary.

The step comes shortly after Goszagransobstvennost, Russia’s agency authorised to oversee state-owned real estate abroad, was included on the Czech Republic’s list of sanctioned entities.

According to the real estate cadastre, seen by the news outlet, the Czech authorities have so far sealed a school building on Krupkova Square, a house on Ovenecka Street, a villa on Pod Kashtany Street in Prague, and a former Russian consulate building in Karlovy Vary.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has condemned the move as illegal under international law, and warned of possible retaliatory steps after Moscow assesses “what the Czechs have here (in Russia).”

Earlier this year, the Czech government cancelled Soviet-era agreements that granted the Russian embassy free use of land in Prague and other cities. The Czech Foreign Ministry also filed a lawsuit against Moscow for compensation of 53 million crowns ($2.44 million) over lease payments on the land plots.

Lipavsky previously claimed that Russia owned 42 buildings in the Czech Republic with the status of diplomatic mission facilities, but an audit revealed that dozens of them were not being used for the stated purposes.

Private property belonging or linked to Russian citizens have also been targeted by the Ukraine-related sanctions. In July, the Czech Bureau of Financial Analysis blocked the bank accounts of companies reportedly associated with the founder of AFK Sistema Vladimir Yevtushenkov, and seized his property worth 100 million crowns (some $4.59 million). Among other properties, the five-star Savoy Westend hotel in Karlovy Vary was seized.

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