Around 15,000 millionaires are likely attempting to leave Russia, according to migration applications, the U.K. defense ministry announced Friday.
The moves come as the West drops the hammer on the Russian economy, in the wake of the Kremlin launching its brutal full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
“Motivations highly likely include both personal opposition to the invasion and an intent to escape the financial impact of the sanctions imposed on Russia,” the U.K. ministry notes. “Should this exodus continue, it will likely exacerbate the war’s long-term damage to Russia’s economy.”
Russia’s richest have been battered since the beginning of the war, due to sanctions, the freezing of their assets and overall instability in the Russian economy.
Forbes reported in April that Russian billionaires have lost, on average, 27 percent of their wealth compared to 2021. Some have even dropped out of the magazine’s list of the world’s billionaires — 83 Russians remain on it, 34 fewer than the year before.
Oligarchs have been attempting to fight back against Western sanctions. At least 20 of Russia’s most powerful magnates have filed cases against the EU to unfreeze their assets and unblock their visas — including Roman Abramovich, former owner of Chelsea Football Club, who was sanctioned in March.