A new controversy in Italian media is the story that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s alleged mansion in Italy was rented to a Russian couple for a staggering 50 thousand euros in August.
On Aug. 31, centered on the front page of the Italian newspaper “Il Tirreno,” is the title “Zelensky affitta a russi” (translated into English: “Zelensky Rent To Russians”). A picture of the luxury villa was also featured on the front page.
The villa in Forte dei Marmi, a seaside town in Tuscany, is said to be owned by “an Italian company that belongs to another in Cyprus, and belongs to Zelensky’s wife,” according to la Repubblica.
La Repubblica noted a media frenzy has erupted over reports of an “alleged Russian couple who would have rented the villa of the Ukrainian leader.”
“The news of the alleged Russian couple who would have rented the villa of the Ukrainian leader, had been circulating for a few days in Versilia and was reported by the Tyrrhenian, who writes about some photos that appeared on social media portraying a Russian tourist in the park of the villa, in Vittoria Apuana.”
Remember, in the early days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Zelensky urged Italy to stop Russian oligarchs from using the country as a safe haven.
“Almost all of them use Italy as a place for vacation. So don’t be a resort for murderers,” the Ukrainian president said in March.
Zelensky recently convinced Europe to suspend the 2007 visa facilitation agreement with Moscow to curb Russian tourist inflows entering the bloc.
La Repubblica quoted the mayor of the town who said this about the mansion:
“We did not have any news and frankly until the outbreak of the war, the only information we had about the villa, which is located in the Villa Apuana area, is that it was owned by a company, among other things, it has always been rarely inhabited.”
Meanwhile, there were denials that Russians stayed in Zelensky’s alleged mansion:
“There were no Russians or Ukrainians in the villa of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky”. The real estate agent of Real Estate Forte dei Marmi Villas speaks, Claudio Salvini, who denies the rumors: “What has been written is a conjecture. The villa was rented to a couple for the summer, I won’t tell you if they reside in London or not, but I assure you it can’t be Russians because we are absolutely forbidden to rent to Russians and Ukrainians “Salvini stresses. — la Repubblica
People have protested in front of the villa, holding signs that read: “Stop the weapons to the war comedian (Zelensky).”
Even state media chimes in on the controversy.
Nuova polemica sulla villa a Forte dei Marmi (LU), che, secondo i media ucraini, appartiene al presidente #Zelensky. Smentita la notizia, circolata in questi giorni in Versilia, secondo la quale la struttura è affittata a cittadini russi. @NicoleRamadori #GR1 pic.twitter.com/epybBL0r4z
— Rai Radio1 (@Radio1Rai) August 31, 2022
We doubt US mainstream media will cover this — or perhaps if they do – there will only be denials.