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Offbeat: War in Ukraine: In Thailand, Phuket becomes the ultra-rich Russian refuge

Estonia's PM warns the 'true scale of the Kremlin's brutality is yet to be seen' in Ukraine

  Estonia's PM warns the 'true scale of the Kremlin's brutality is yet to be seen' in Ukraine Thousands are dying in Ukraine because of Russian President Vladimir Putin's "imperialist ambition," Prime Minister Kaja Kallas wrote in an op-ed."I am writing this essay as the world has woken up to the horrific scenes from Irpin and Bucha, suburbs of Kyiv in Ukraine. We see pictures of mass graves and civilians murdered by Russian troops," Kallas wrote in The Economist, adding, "Russia has engineered humanitarian catastrophes in cities such as Mariupol. Targeting civilians is a war crime according to international law. Ukraine is not a battlefield; it's a crime scene.

Patong, l'une des stations balnéaires les plus populaires de Phuket. © Getty Images - Adisorn Fineday Chutikunakorn Patong, one of Phuket's most popular seaside resorts.

While the conflict in Ukraine continues, tens of thousands of Russians have left their country since the beginning of the war. Fleeing the sanctions applied by the European Union, some, especially in the richest, prefer other destinations, like Phuket in Thailand, where they arrive numerous, for a holiday, to party, but now also to make business.

With our correspondent in Phuket, Carol Isoux

on the outer bridge of a sparkling yacht, on the Turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea, they are about twenty Russians to drink French white wine facing the sunset. The organizer of these luxury nights is called Dennys Dudariev. He is Ukrainian, former boss of nightclub at kyiv, but he must put his personal feelings aside because 80% of his clientele is Russian, and since the beginning of the conflict, his belongings took off.

NATO chief says Putin still wants to control all of Ukraine, despite repositioning forces to the eastern Donbas region

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"I noticed that there are a lot of ultra rich who arrived here Since the beginning of the war, for about a month, describes Dennys Dudariev. They made a fortune in Russia or Ukraine, or [have become millionaires [thanks to the] cryptomonnaires. Recently I had big events to organize for Russians who had just arrived. Private evenings, where we do not have the right to take a picture. Yesterday, it was birthday evening in a villa, nearly 10,000 euros. They love the theme nights like Aladin, with dancers, magicians. What works best is Gatsby evenings, women in evening dresses, high heels, men in tuxedo, candles, gilded everywhere ... Gatsby, they love ... Every year I organize a dozen.

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  Biden assists in sending Ukraine an advanced air defense system, fulfilling one of Zelenskyy's biggest wishes "Now is no time for complacency," Biden said in announcing the news. He also accused the Russian military of committing "horrific acts of brutality.""As the Russian military repositions for the next phase of this war, I have directed my Administration to continue to spare no effort to identify and provide to the Ukrainian military the advanced weapons capabilities it needs to defend its country," Biden said in a statement released by the White House.

But if they apparently know how to have fun, these super rich are not there than for pleasure. fleeing European sanctions , the seizures and a Western market now perceived as unstable, they would be more and more numerous to want to invest their money in Thailand and Asia.

► To read: War in Ukraine: The Yachts of Russian oligarchs in the Collimator of Europeans

This is what Janna Sviritkova notes, at the head of a real estate agency specializing in the luxury villas in Phuket. For her, there are two types of Russian investments today: "Some Russians now want to repatriate their money in Russia, because with the departure of big companies like Mac Donald or Coca Cola, there is a space to rise Business with a very fast growth rate, since there is already a customer base, there are already people ready to drink coca, they already have the concept, just make a Mac Donald to Russian, she explains. Others want to invest in real estate in Asia, because, say, there is a common perspective. They want to have reservations in Thai Baths or other Asian currencies, because we do not know what the sanctions are going to give in Europe, and these currencies are more stable than the ruble. "

Russian business men and women would therefore be more inclined to Chinese or Southeast Asian partnerships, with risk, prevent analysts, see an asian commercial block more independent of Western powers and new oligarchs.

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