An official at the Como fire station said firefighters were called shortly after dawn to the scene of a fire at his under-construction villa in Menaggio, one of the picturesque towns that dot the lake in northern Italy. He said police were investigating the vandalism as a “demonstrative act.”

Two villas on Italy’s Lake Como owned by pro-Putin Russian television personality Vladimir Soloyvev were vandalized early Wednesday, with “KILLER” and “NO WAR” spray-painted on one and flaming tires tossed into the other to protest his support for the invasion of Ukraine, authorities said.

The pool of the spray-painted property in the town of Pianello del Lario was also tinted red, according to video of the scene by Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

Solovyev was one of the first figures targeted by European Union sanctions because of his support for the war. A presenter on state run Channel One, Solovyev is “known for his extremely hostile attitude towards Ukraine and praise of the Russian government,” according to the EU sanctions list. The EU says he was targeted for sanctions because of his support for “actions or policies which undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”

The Italian government announced March 5 that Solovyev’s Como-area properties had been frozen, and estimated their combined value at 8 million euros (US$8.7 million).

© Copyright LaPresse