World

Prominent environmentalist flees Russia, citing fears for her children and war with Ukraine

  • FILE - In this Monday Sept. 3, 2012 file photo, environmental activist and leader of the Khimki forest defenders Yevgenia Chirikova speaks to the media holding signatures in support of her mayoral candidacy for Khimki, as she goes to submit documents to officially register as a candidate, in Khimki, outside Moscow, Russia. Yevgenia Chirikova, prominent environmentalist told the Associated Press on Monday, April 20, 2015, that she had fled Russia, moving with her family to Estonia out of fear that government harassment could take her children away from her. Yevgeniya Chirikova in 2010 mounted Russia’s biggest environmental campaign at the time, opposing the construction of a highway outside Moscow which was pushed by some of the country’s most powerful people. (AP Photo/Mitya Aleshkovsky, file)

    FILE - In this Monday Sept. 3, 2012 file photo, environmental activist and leader of the Khimki forest defenders Yevgenia Chirikova speaks to the media holding signatures in support of her mayoral candidacy for Khimki, as she goes to submit documents to officially register as a candidate, in Khimki, outside Moscow, Russia. Yevgenia Chirikova, prominent environmentalist told the Associated Press on Monday, April 20, 2015, that she had fled Russia, moving with her family to Estonia out of fear that government harassment could take her children away from her. Yevgeniya Chirikova in 2010 mounted Russia’s biggest environmental campaign at the time, opposing the construction of a highway outside Moscow which was pushed by some of the country’s most powerful people. (AP Photo/Mitya Aleshkovsky, file)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Wednesday Nov. 10, 2010 file photo environmental activist Yevgenia Chirikova stands in the clearing, in the Khimki forest north of Moscow, Russia. Yevgenia Chirikova, prominent environmentalist told the Associated Press on Monday, April 20, 2015, that she had fled Russia, moving with her family to Estonia out of fear that government harassment could take her children away from her.  Yevgenia Chirikova in 2010 mounted Russia’s biggest environmental campaign at the time, opposing the construction of a highway outside Moscow which was pushed by some of the country’s most powerful people. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, file)

    FILE - In this Wednesday Nov. 10, 2010 file photo environmental activist Yevgenia Chirikova stands in the clearing, in the Khimki forest north of Moscow, Russia. Yevgenia Chirikova, prominent environmentalist told the Associated Press on Monday, April 20, 2015, that she had fled Russia, moving with her family to Estonia out of fear that government harassment could take her children away from her. Yevgenia Chirikova in 2010 mounted Russia’s biggest environmental campaign at the time, opposing the construction of a highway outside Moscow which was pushed by some of the country’s most powerful people. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, file)  (The Associated Press)

A prominent environmentalist says she has fled Russia, moving with her family to Estonia out of fear that government harassment could take her children away from her.

Yevgeniya Chirikova is best known for a 2010 campaign opposing the construction of a highway outside Moscow. Her activism cost some of Russia's most powerful men billions of dollars in contracts.

The mother of two told The Associated Press on Monday that she left mostly because of threats by social services to take her children away from her.

Chirikova, who won the prestigious Goldman Award in 2012, also said she does not want to pay for Russia's "military aggression against Ukraine" with her taxes.

Chirikova's departure follows the emigration of several prominent government critics in recent years.