Top Putin envoy Anatoly Chubais 'QUITS and leaves the country

Top Putin envoy Anatoly Chubais QUITS and leaves the country ‘with no intention to return in protest over Ukraine invasion’

  • Kremlin aide Anatoly Chubais has resigned and left Russia over Ukraine invasion 
  • Chubais is the first senior official to quit since Russia invaded Ukraine last month
  • 66-year-old was chief architect of Boris Yeltsin’s economic reforms in the 1990s
  • It comes as Moscow stepped up pressure on oligarchs critical of war in Ukraine 

A veteran Kremlin envoy has quit and left the country with no intention to return allegedly in a protest over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Anatoly Chubais, a special envoy to international organisations for Putin since 2020, is the first senior official to quit since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine a month ago.  

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday confirmed Chubais, 66, had resigned, adding that he did so of his own accord. But Chubais has not yet said why he resigned nor where he has left Russia for and hung up the phone when contacted by Reuters.  

He was one of the principal architects of Boris Yeltsin’s economic reforms of the 1990s and many Russians blame him for allowing a small group of tycoons to enrich themselves in the privatisations while millions of Russians were left in poverty amid economic collapse and crisis.

In recent years he continued to call for economic reform and was one of the most high-profile liberals associated with the Russian government, holding senior business and political roles under Putin. 

He was appointed as a special envoy in 2020, charged with ‘achieving goals of sustainable development’, days after resigning as the head of state technology firm RUSNANO which he had run since 2008.

His resignation comes as the Kremlin stepped up pressure on oligarchs critical of the war in Ukraine with Putin last week warning ‘scum’ traitors that Russians will ‘spit them out like a midge that flew into their mouths’.

Veteran Kremlin envoy Anatoly Chubais (pictured right, with Russian President Vladimir Putin in December 2016) has quit and left the country with no intention to return allegedly in a protest over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Anatoly Chubais, a special envoy to international organisations for Putin since 2020, is the first senior official to quit since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine a month ago (pictured, front left, signing a contract with the CEO of German energy giant E.ON in front of Putin and then-Chancellor Angela Merkel)

Pro-Russian separatist troops patrol in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine on March 11 as civilians scrambled to leave the city following a sustained shelling campaign

A residential block, including a school, destroyed after the building in Kyiv was hit in shellong on March 18

US President Joe Biden flies to Europe on Wednesday for an emergency NATO summit on Ukraine, where invading Russian troops are stalled, cities are under bombardment and the besieged port of Mariupol is in flames.

Four weeks into a war that has driven a quarter of Ukraine’s 44 million people from their homes, Russia has failed to capture a single major Ukrainian city, while Western sanctions have ostracised it from the world economy.

After failing in what Western countries say was an attempt to seize Kyiv and depose the government, Russian forces have taken heavy losses, been frozen in place for at least a week on most fronts and face supply problems and fierce resistance.

They have turned to siege tactics and bombardment of cities, causing massive destruction and many civilian deaths.

Moscow says its aim is to disarm its neighbour, and its ‘special military operation’ is going to plan. It denies targeting civilians.

Worst hit has been Mariupol, a southern port completely surrounded by Russian forces, where hundreds of thousands of people have been sheltering since the war’s early days, under constant bombardment and with food, water and heat supplies cut.

New satellite photographs from commercial firm Maxar released overnight showed massive destruction of what was once a city of 400,000 people, with columns of smoke rising from residential apartment buildings in flames.

No journalists have been able to report from inside the Ukrainian-held parts of the city for more than a week, during which time Ukrainian officials say Russia has bombed a theatre and an art school used as bomb shelters, burying hundreds of people alive. Russia denies targeting those buildings.

Badly damaged and partially collapses apartment buildings are seen in the city of Mariupol, which has been under near-constant Russia bombardment since early March and been almost-totally destroyed

Heavily damaged apartment buildings are seen in southern Mariupol, as a local official said the city has been reduced to ‘the ashes of a dead land’ by Russian bombardment

Smoke is seen rising over civilian areas of Mariupol, which has been almost totally levelled by Russian forces in an attempt to take the city – which has been without water, food or electricity for almost a month

An industrial area in the centre of the city of Mariupol, which has been heavily bombed by Russian forces, is seen in this satellite image taken on Tuesday

Heavily damaged buildings and apartment blocks are seen in a satellite image of Mariupol, where more than 100,000 people are still said to be stranded in conditions likened to a ‘hell-scape’

Biden, due to arrive in Brussels on Wednesday evening, will meet NATO and European leaders in an emergency summit at the Western military alliance’s headquarters. 

The leaders are expected to roll out additional sanctions against Russia on Thursday. Sources said the US package would include measures targeting Russian members of parliament.

Biden will also visit Poland, which has taken in most of the more than 3.6 million refugees who have fled Ukraine and has been the main route for Western supplies of weapons to Ukraine.

In a sign of Moscow’s further isolation, Poland announced it was expelling 45 Russian diplomats accused of either being undercover spies or ‘associated’ with them. 

Several other eastern European countries have announced similar moves in recent days, although not on such a large scale. Russia has rejected all the accusations.  

Despite its losses so far, Russia may still be hoping to make more gains on the battlefield, especially in the east, in territory including Mariupol which Moscow demands Ukraine cede to Russian-backed separatists.

In a daily intelligence update, Britain’s defence ministry said the entire battlefield across northern Ukraine – which includes huge armoured columns that once bore down on Kyiv – was now ‘static’, with invaders apparently trying to reorganise.

But in the east, the Russians were trying to link troops at Mariupol with those near Kharkiv in the hope of encircling Ukrainian forces, while in the southwest they were bypassing the city of Mykolayiv to try to advance on Odesa, Ukraine’s biggest port.

Ukrainian officials described sporadic shelling in other cities overnight, with two civilians killed in the Mykolayiv region, a bridge destroyed in the Chernihiv region, and residential buildings and a shopping mall struck in two districts of Kyiv, wounding at least four people. 

A soldier raises a Ukrainian flag in the city of Makariv, to the west of Kyiv, which has been recaptured – putting Russian forces in Bucha, Irpin and Borodyanka at risk of getting cut off

Ukrainian troops inspect a Russian rocket artillery truck that was destroyed in fighting in Makariv, to the west of Kyiv

A Ukrainian soldier stands next to a Russian armoured vehicle that was captured during fighting near Makariv, which is now back under Kyiv’s control

Counter-attacks are now taking place to the west of Kyiv, around Mykolaiv and Kherson in the south, and towards Izyum in the east as the Pentagon says Ukrainian generals are ‘able and willing to re-take territory’

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