Russian billionaire Oleg Tinkov says he has decided to give up his citizenship because of the war in Ukraine, which he had previously criticized as “crazy”.

“I have taken the decision to exit my Russian citizenship. I can’t and won’t be associated with a fascist country, that started a war with their peaceful Neighbour and killing innocent people daily,” Tinkov wrote on Instagram on Monday.

“I hope more prominent Russian businessmen will follow me, so it weakens [President Vladimir] Putin’s regime and his economy, and put him eventually to defeat,” added the 54-year-old, who has been based outside Russia in recent years.

The banking tycoon shared a picture of a certificate confirming the “ending” of his Russian citizenship.

“I hate Putin’s Russia, but love all Russians who are clearly against this crazy war!” Tinkov said, according to AFP news agency.

Tinkov is the founder of the online Tinkoff Bank, one of Russia’s largest lenders counting some 20 million customers. He also owns about 35 percent of Cyprus-based TCS Group Holding, whose stable of companies under the Tinkoff brand spans sectors from banking and insurance to mobile services.

In April, Tinkov had claimed that 90 percent of his countrymen were against Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine in late February and called on Western leaders to help end the “massacre”.

Tinkov has been targeted by British sanctions imposed soon after the conflict began.

He was previously arrested in London in 2020 on charges of tax evasion in the United States. He was later released on bail and treated for leukemia in London.

He quit his role as Tinkoff CEO in 2020 and the bank has distanced itself from his strong criticism of the war.

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