A Moscow couple who bought a penthouse Crimean apartment after it was ‘nationalised’ after being taken from President Zelensky and his wife are reportedly delighted with the bargain buy.
But they are reportedly less pleased with all the attention and claim they did not know that it belonged to Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife Olena before it was seized after the region was annexed by Russia in 2014.
The new owner, Olga Lipovetskaya, 50, said on social media that they are “an ordinary family that was looking for an apartment so that the children could live in a good Crimean climate”, according to Ukrainian media.
Lipovetskaya’s husband is reportedly a lawyer called Ivan Tuchkov, whose age was not given, who worked in the Department of Internal Affairs in the Central Administrative District of Moscow.
Russian media have quoted the new owners as saying that they were unaware that their new purchase belonged to the Ukrainian presidential couple.
They are quoted as saying: “We didn’t know that this was Zelensky’s apartment.”
Tuchkov added that he was unaware of the history of the flat, stressing that all the decisions were made by his wife Olga.
He told Russian media: “I have nothing to do with this apartment, everything was decided by my wife. I wanted it and bought it for personal purposes. In any case, I’m happy for her, such luck.”
Lipovetskaya has reportedly turned her phone off, according to Russian media, and is not keen on all the attention she is receiving following the auction.
The Crimea sea-view apartment owned by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s wife in Russian-occupied Ukraine was sold off at auction by the Russian authorities in the occupied peninsula.
The luxury flat in the village of Livadia sold for RUB 44.3 million (GBP 395,779) on 30th October.
First Lady Olena Zelenska was forced to abandon the apartment in 2014 when the Crimean Peninsula was illegally annexed by Russia.
She had bought it a year earlier, according to Ukrainian media, for the equivalent of USD 164,000 (GBP 135,000).
Proceeds from the sale are reportedly being channelled back to the Kremlin to help finance the war in Ukraine.
The auction had started with a bid of just RUB 1.2 million (GBP 10,754) but grew rapidly.
The 120-square-metre (1,292-square-foot) flat has a grand balcony that looks out onto the Black Sea.
Occupants can also see the Livadia Palace, once the holiday home of the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, who was shot by the Bolsheviks in 1918.
Visitors climb a flight of stone stairs flanked by statues of lions to get into the building.
The large apartment, located on the fifth floor of the building, also reportedly comes with a parking space outside the ‘Emperor’ residential complex.
Russian authorities in occupied Crimea had previously announced that the apartment had been “nationalised”.