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Senior adviser to Russian President Putin resigns in wake of Ukraine invasion

Senior adviser to Russian President Putin resigns in wake of Ukraine invasion
Anatoly Chubais attends a discussion during the Gaidar Economic Forum in Moscow on January 16, 2020.​ Chubais resigned Wednesday as Putin's climate envoy, the first senior Russian official to do so since Russia's invasion of Ukraine began. File Photo by Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA-EFE

March 23 (UPI) -- Russian climate envoy Anatoly Chubais has resigned, the Kremlin confirmed Wednesday, marking the first senior adviser to President Vladimir Putin to resign his post since the invasion of Ukraine.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed Chubais had resigned but did not say why, the Moscow Times reported.

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Chubais has not publicly indicated his reason for resigning. His departure was first reported by Bloomberg News, which cited unnamed sources attributing the move to opposition to Russia's Ukraine invasion.

That would make Chubais the most senior Russian official to break with Putin over the war on Ukraine. Russia has cracked down on opposition to the war, arresting protesters and criminalizing speaking out against the military or spreading "false news" about the invasion, which Russia calls a "special military operation."

Chubais is known as the architect of Russia's 1990's economic privatization. He has held several senior business and political positions under Putin.

Since 2020, Chubais has been Russia's special envoy to international organizations acting as a climate envoy.

Chubais' wife, Avdotya Smirnova, last month signed an open letter opposing Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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According to BBC News, opposition activist Alexei Navalny spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said opposition leaders doubt Chubais' resignation was an anti-war protest.

Yarmysh said he quit "out of fear for his own skin and his own money."

Scenes from the rubble: Russian forces attack Ukraine capital, Kyiv

Ukrainian service members stand beside a damaged building in a residential area after shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 18. Photo by Vladyslav Musiienko/UPI | License Photo

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