ROMAN Abramovich’s £150m Kensington mansion could soon be home to Ukrainian refugees thanks to a government proposal.
Cabinet sources have revealed Levelling-up Secretary Michael Gove has put forward the idea to house the homeless victims of war in the lavish homes of Russian oligarchs.
The 55-year-old sanctioned owner of the European Champions put his 15-bedroom mansion in Kensington Palace Gardens up for sale last week with a price tag of a staggering £150m.
The Grade II-listed home was once used as the Russian embassy.
Abramovich’s triplex penthouse in a 37-storey Chelsea Waterfront building, potentially around £30m, has already been seized.
It is believed his other property, a six-storey townhouse in Eaton Square, which he acquired for £28m, has also been seized.
Michael Gove said he wants to “explore an option” of using sanctioned individuals’ properties to house Ukrainian refugees.
He told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme: “I want to explore an option which would allow us to use the homes and properties of sanctioned individuals – as long as they are sanctioned – for humanitarian and other purposes.
“There’s quite a high legal bar to cross and we’re not talking about permanent confiscation.
“But we are saying: ‘you’re sanctioned, you’re supporting Putin, this home is here, you have no right to use or profit from it – and more than that, while you are not using or profiting from it, if we can use it in order to help others, let’s do that’.”
Britain and the EU may have to welcome 15million Ukrainian refugees if Vladimir Putin keeps up his bloody campaign of terror.
The United Nations fears the number of people displaced by the increasingly brutal invasion will be three times higher than expected.
It comes as the UK Government announced they will be launching the Local Sponsorship Scheme for Ukraine.
The Government website states, “Following the invasion of Ukraine, the government is launching a new sponsorship scheme to make sure that Ukrainians who have been forced to flee their homes have a route to safety in the UK.
“Charities, businesses and community groups can come forward to sponsor Ukrainians who do not have already established family ties to the UK.
“The scheme will match people with sponsors.”
And Britons offering their homes will receive a “thank you” payment of £350 per month.
It comes as the Government has faced criticism over the speed and scale of its efforts to bring fleeing Ukrainians to the UK.
People sponsoring refugees through the new uncapped route will be required to commit to the scheme for a minimum of six months, but are encouraged to keep up the offer for as long as they can.
Those offering accommodation will be vetted and Ukrainian applicants will undergo security checks.
As a “thank you”, sponsors will receive payments of £350 per month. A website gathering expressions of interest is set to launch on Monday.
It comes after days of controversy over Britain’s failure to take in more Ukrainian refugees.
More than two million people have fled to neighbouring countries with most going to Poland, Hungary, and Romania.
So far only 1,000 of those escaping the conflict have been granted safety in the UK.
Ministers insist that number is set to increase rapidly and that they’re committed to speeding up ID checks.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps justified red tape warning the Kremlin could exploit an open door policy to send agents to Britain.