Mar 2, 2022 - World

Here are the Russian oligarchs speaking out against invading Ukraine

 Russian billionaire and businessman, Alfa Group owner Mikhail Fridman attends the International Leadership Reunion.
Alfa Group owner Mikhail Fridman attends the International Leadership Reunion in Moscow, Russia on September 17, 2019. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Some Russian oligarchs are cautiously speaking out against Russian President Vladimir Putin's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, AP reports.

Driving the news: "President Putin, please stop this war," Evgeny Lebedev, the son of oligarch and former KGB agent Alexander Lebedev, wrote in a front-page statement in London's Evening Standard, which he owns.

  • "As a Russian citizen I plead with you to stop Russians killing their Ukrainian brothers and sisters. As a British citizen I ask you to save Europe from war," Lebedev wrote in the statement published Monday.
  • Oleg Deripaska, founder of the Rusal aluminum company and an ally of Putin, wrote that "peace is very important" on the Telegram messaging service, per AP.
  • Founder of Tinkoff Bank Oleg Tinkov wrote Monday on Instagram: "Innocent people are dying in Ukraine now, every day, this is unthinkable and unacceptable."
  • Alfa Bank founder Mikhail Fridman, who was born in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, called the war a "tragedy" that "should be stopped as soon as possible."

Between the lines: Deripaska, Tinkov and Fridman did not mention Putin directly, and Fridman expressed frustration over his sanctioning by the European Union, saying "imposing sanctions against us here just creates enormous pressure for us personally," adding, "but we do not have any impact [on] political decisions at all."

Roman Abramovich announced Wednesday that he is looking to sell Chelsea FC, the soccer team he's owned since 2003, as calls mount for him to be sanctioned over his ties to Putin.

  • Abramovich, who is one of the highest-profile oligarchs who is not on a sanctions list, AP notes, also said that he would set up a charitable foundation to benefit "victims of the war in Ukraine."

State of play: The global community of wealthy Russians face sanctions, threatening their mansions, yachts and statuses at elite private schools as their country's invasion of Ukraine escalates.

  • President Biden said Tuesday during the State of the Union address that "the U.S. Department of Justice is assembling a dedicated task force to go after the crimes of Russian oligarchs."
  • "We are joining with our European allies to find and seize your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets. We are coming for your ill-begotten gains," Biden said.

Go deeper: The West ramps up the pressure on Putin's inner circle

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