Russian World Bank adviser resigns in protest over Ukraine invasion

A World Bank adviser has become the first Russian official to resign from a senior post at an international body in protest against Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Boris Lvin, senior adviser to Russia’s representative to the Washington-based financial institution, revealed his intention to resign to World Bank board members and their staff last week. “Given current events, I can no longer associate with my government and will have to resign from my position,” he wrote in an email.

Lvin, who has worked at the World Bank for more than 24 years, confirmed to the Financial Times that he had “officially stepped down” from his post on Tuesday. It involved “rather little sacrifice on my part, especially compared to what the people in Ukraine and the brave protesters in Russia are currently enduring,” he added.

Although businesses, governments and the international community have condemned the invasion of Ukraine, Russian officials have remained publicly supportive or silent about the war, which has forced hundreds of thousands to flee Ukraine. .

Kremlin officials declined to call the conflict a ‘war’, describing it instead as a ‘special military operation’, and denied targeting civilians, despite evidence of increasing civilian casualties and destruction urban areas.

Western powers have imposed a series of increasingly harsh sanctions on Russia aimed at crippling its economy, while oil giant ExxonMobil on Tuesday joined the growing list of companies that said they would sever ties with the country in response to war.

The US-based Lvin’s resignation comes days after Oleg Anisimov, the head of the Russian delegation to a major UN climate summit, apologized “on behalf of all Russians who have not been able to prevent this conflict”, which he said did not find “any justification”.

Lvin had been a senior adviser to Roman Marshavin, the executive director representing Russia and Syria on the board of the World Bank Group. Lvin previously worked for the Russian government and at the IMF.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, World Bank Group President David Malpass and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said they were “deeply shocked and saddened” by the war and “stand with the people of Ukraine in through these horrific developments”.

They said they planned to provide emergency funding to Ukraine, including $350 million in “budget support” from the World Bank that could be approved as early as this week.

In an update on Wednesday – nearly a week into the conflict – Ukraine’s military said Russian troops were launching bomb and missile attacks on towns across the country and seeking to isolate the capital , Kyiv.

A World Bank spokesperson declined to comment on Lvin’s resignation. “We don’t typically comment on staffing in the offices of our executive directors.”

Additional reporting by James Politi and Colby Smith

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