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Ukraine invasion fallout: Former European leaders on Russian boards start resigning

Ex-European leaders including Finland's premier, Italy's cabinet head, who held crucial board positions in Russian companies including its largest bank, its largest car-sharing platform, and more, have started resigning as Putin goes to war

By AFP
Published: Feb 25, 2022 11:46:31 AM IST
Updated: Feb 25, 2022 12:29:34 PM IST

Ukraine invasion fallout: Former European leaders on Russian boards start resigningRussian President Vladimir Putin (R) with then Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi in 2016. Matteo Renzi, who headed Italy's cabinet from 2014 to 2016, was on the board of Delimobil, one of the largest car-sharing firms in Russia, which was founded by an Italian entrepreneur. He resigned this morning," Renzi's spokesman told AFP. (Photo by OLGA MALTSEVA / AFP)

Several former European leaders stepped down from the boards of directors of Russian companies Thursday after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Esko Aho, who was Finland's premier from 1991 to 1995, resigned from the board of Sberbank, Russia's largest bank.

"Working after the attack has become impossible for me," he told Finland's Ilta-Sanomat daily.

"Over the past weeks, I have completely lost faith in my ability to understand the logic of what Russia is doing at the moment," he told another newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat.

Matteo Renzi, who headed Italy's cabinet from 2014 to 2016, was on the board of Delimobil, one of the largest car-sharing firms in Russia, which was founded by an Italian entrepreneur.

"He resigned this morning," Renzi's spokesman told AFP, confirming press reports.

Christian Kern, who led Austria's government from 2016 to 2017, told AFP Thursday that he was stepping down from the monitoring board of Russia's state railways, adding the latest developments in Ukraine had made this unavoidable.

Kern is just one of a handful of former chancellors and ex-ministers with financial interests in Russian companies.

Germany's former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who was in power from 1998 to 2005, did not however immediately quit as chairman of the board of directors of Russian state oil giant Rosneft.

Schroeder did on Thursday criticise Russia's invasion as unjustified, but called for continued dialogue with Moscow.

There was no immediate resignation either from Francois Fillon, France's premier from 2007 to 2012, who joined the board of Russian petrochemicals giant Sibur in December.

© Agence France-Presse

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