Vladimir Putin has suffered a major blow as the first two powerful oligarchs have broken ranks with the Russian president and called for his invasion of Ukraine to end.
Russian multi-billionaires Mikhail Fridman and Oleg Deripaska have taken the unusual step of turning against Putin to call for peace talks “as fast as possible.”
Fridman was born in western Ukraine and is a co-founder of Russia’s largest private bank, Alfa.
In a statement, Fridman, who also controls private equity firm LetterOne, called for the “bloodshed” to end.
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“I was born in Western Ukraine and lived there until I was 17,” Fridman said.
“My parents are Ukrainian citizens and live in Lviv, my favorite city.
“But I have also spent much of my life as a citizen of Russia, building and growing businesses.
“I am deeply attached to the Ukrainian and Russian peoples and see the current conflict as a tragedy for them both.
“This crisis will cost lives and damage two nations who have been brothers for hundreds of years.
“While a solution seems frighteningly far off, I can only join those whose fervent desire is for the bloodshed to end.”
Deripaska, the founder of Russian aluminum giant Rusal, said simply:
“Peace is very important.”
Russian oligarchs are getting hit with sanctions by Europe and America and more will come.
The billionaires are being hit hard as the West begins to rid itself of their money.
Switzerland has just dropped its historic neutrality and join the rest of Europe with sanctions.
Swiss Federal President Ignazio Cassis said:
“The Swiss Federal Council has decided today to fully adopt EU sanctions.
“It is an unparalleled action of Switzerland, who has always stayed neutral before.
“Russia’s attack is an attack on freedom, an attack on democracy, an attack on the civil population, and an attack on the institutions of a free country.
“This cannot be accepted regarding international law, this cannot be accepted politically, and this cannot be accepted morally.
“To play into the hands of an aggressor is not neutral.
“Having signed the Geneva convention of human rights, we are bound to humanitarian order.
“Other democracies shall be able to rely on Switzerland; those standing for international law shall be able to rely on Switzerland; states that uphold human rights shall be able to rely on Switzerland,” he said.
“Switzerland reaffirms its solidarity with Ukraine and its people; it will be delivering relief supplies for people who have fled to Poland,” the government said.
The United Kingdom also is looking for hidden Russian cash and will require foreign owners of British property to disclose the real owners.
From The Times UK:
Foreign owners of British property will have to disclose their identities for the first time as part of measures to crack down on Russian oligarchs laundering their wealth.
Under the plans, to be announced by Boris Johnson today, it will become illegal to hide the true “beneficial” ownership of UK property behind shell companies, with penalties of up to five years in prison. At the same time, new laws will give the police greater powers to investigate the owners of UK assets that are believed to have been paid for by money laundering.