Wealthy Ukrainians flee the country in their private jets
Ukrainian oligarchs and wealthy businessmen are fleeing the country on private jets and charter flights, news website Ukrayinska Pravda (UP) reported on Feb. 13.
According to UP’s sources, around 20 charter and private jets ferried wealthy Ukrainians abroad on Feb. 13.
Among the aircraft that left the country that day was the plane of Ukraine’s wealthiest citizen, Rinat Akhmetov, while the millionaire pro-Russian MP Igor Abramovych hired a 50-person plane, the article said.
Two people from Abramovych’s political party, along with two more people who were offered seats on said plane, told UP the flight was taking his business partners and families of his fellow MPs to Vienna, Austria. UP has reached out to Abramovych for comment.
While one of Akhmetov’s planes left Ukraine on Feb, 13, the oligarch left for Zurich, Switzerland on Jan. 30. Another wealthy businessman, Victor Pinchuk, left Ukraine on the same day, the article said.
According to UP, businessman and MP Vadym Novynskyi left Ukraine for Munich, Germany on Feb. 10 – the same day as Oleksandr Yaroslavskyi, who was involved in a deadly car accident near the city of Kharkiv.
Andrey Stavnitser and Vadym Nesterenko left on Feb. 13; Vadim Stolar and Vasyl Khmelnytsky – on Feb. 12, UP said.
Stavnitser left on a business trip and “will return to Ukraine in a matter of days,” while Khmelnytsky is away for “training” and is expected back on Feb. 20, according to their spokespeople.
The article suggests this flight of Ukraine’s wealthy elite is related to heightened risks of an imminent Russian invasion of the country.
Russia has deployed additional forces near Ukraine’s border and could launch an invasion at a moment’s notice, even during the Beijing Winter Olympics, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Feb. 11. Politico reported that U.S. President Joe Biden has briefed Washington’s NATO and EU allies on Moscow’s plans to invade Ukraine on Feb. 16.
Russian military offensive in Ukraine could begin on Feb. 15, according to Bloomberg. The Kremlin responded by accusing Western media of a “large-scale misinformation campaign.”
Currently, there are approximately 140,000 Russian troops surrounding Ukraine, from Russia, Belarus, and the temporarily occupied territories.
The Kremlin denies gearing up for invasion, and has instead accused Ukraine of planning false flag operations, as well as of drawing up plans to use force to restore Kyiv’s control over territories lost since 2014.
However, the Kremlin has declined to provide a guarantee of non-invasion, and has supplied no evidence of this alleged planned Ukrainian offensive.
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