The co-founder of Russian internet giant Yandex, Arkady Volozh, on Thursday condemned what he described as Moscow’s “barbaric” invasion of Ukraine, days after criticism in Russia over his apparent efforts to distance himself from the country.

Volozh described himself as a “Kazakhstan-born, Israeli tech entrepreneur” on a personal website, drawing some criticism in Russian media and on the Telegram messaging platform for apparently playing down his links to Russia.

He has also been criticized by those opposed to Russia’s actions for not speaking out more forcefully against the war.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is barbaric, and I am categorically against it,” Volozh said in a statement. “I am horrified about the fate of people in Ukraine — many of them my personal friends and relatives — whose houses are being bombed every day.

“Although I moved to Israel in 2014, I have to take my share of responsibility for the country’s actions,” he wrote. Volozh holds both Russian and Israeli passports.

Volozh developed Yandex

in Russia, creating the country’s largest tech company and its leading search engine.

He stepped down as CEO and left the board of directors after the European Union included him on its list of sanctions against Russian entities and individuals in June 2022. Volozh called the EU’s decision “misguided.”

Yandex is pursuing a corporate restructuring that should ultimately see its main revenue-generating businesses inside Russia spun off from its Dutch-registered parent company, Yandex NV. The company is listed on the Nasdaq and the Moscow stock exchange.

Volozh said his focus since the start of the war in February last year had been on supporting Russian engineers wanting to leave the country.

“These people are now out and in a position to start something new, continuing to drive technological innovation,” he said. “They will be a tremendous asset to the countries in which they land.”


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