The founder of Russian tech giant Yandex on Thursday described Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine as “barbaric”, making him one of few prominent Russian-linked businessmen to speak out against the conflict.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is barbaric, and I am categorically against it,” Arkady Volozh said in a statement.

“I am horrified about the fate of people in Ukraine -- many of them my personal friends and relatives -- whose houses are being bombed every day,” Volozh said.

“I am against the war,” he added.

Volozh, who moved to Israel in 2014, resigned as CEO of Yandex and stepped down from the board of directors in June last year after he was targeted by EU sanctions.

Yandex, Russia’s top internet company and most popular search engine, faced months of instability after the start of the conflict, with many employees leaving the country.


Yandex did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AFP.

In December, a long-time ally of President Vladimir Putin, Alexei Kudrin, said he would join the group as a corporate development adviser to oversee operations.

In recent years, Russian authorities have steadily ramped up control over the internet – once considered the last bastion of free speech in the country.

All major media organisations are already either state-owned or closely toe the Kremlin line.

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