Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich has suffered symptoms of suspected poisoning during talks in Kyiv earlier this month (March), according to sources close to him revealed.
The Chelsea FC owner, who has now recovered, reportedly suffered sore eyes and peeling skin. Two Ukrainian Peace Negotiators were also said to have been affected.
According to the Wall Street Journal, it alleged that the poisoning was orchestrated by hardliners in Russia who wanted to sabotage the talks. The condition of Mr. Abramovich and the Ukrainian negotiators, including Ukrainian Member of Parliament, Rustem Umerov, has improved since the incident on March 3, 2022, the paper quoted sources as saying.
A source close to Mr. Abramovich disclosed to the media that he [Mr. Abramovich] suffered symptoms of suspected poisoning. They said he has now recovered and is continuing with negotiations, hoping to end the war in Ukraine.
Mr. Abramovich travelled between Moscow and Kyiv for several rounds of talks at the start of the month [March].
The Russian billionaire reportedly met Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, during the trip, but the Ukrainian Leader was not affected and his spokesman had no information about the incident.
The investigative journalism group, Bellingcat, averred Mr. Abramovich and the Negotiators suffered symptoms “consistent with poisoning with chemical weapons”.
The symptoms included “eye and skin inflammation and piercing pain in the eyes”, according to the Bellingcat report. The businessman has since been seen in public, being pictured at Israel’s Tel Aviv Airport on March 14, 2022.
A spokesman for Mr. Abramovich said he is playing a “limited” role in trying to find a “peaceful resolution” between the two countries (Russia and Ukraine.
Reason for Abramovich’s current state
Mr. Abramovich is currently under sanctions by the UK Government over alleged links to Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, who is invading Ukraine.
The UK Government sanctioned Mr. Abramovich on March 10, 2022 as means of efforts to signal Mr. Putin to halt the ongoing invasion on Ukraine.
Abramovich is one of seven oligarchs hit with sanctions, including asset freezes and travel bans. The list also includes billionaires; Igor Sechin and Oleg Deripaska, both seen as allies of Vladimir Putin.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said: “there can be no safe havens” for those who have supported the invasion.
But Mr. Zelenskyy has reportedly asked the US to hold off from sanctioning Mr. Abramovich, pointing out that he could play a role in negotiating a peace deal with Moscow.
The Kremlin said Mr. Abramovich played an early role in peace talks but the process was now in the hands of the two countries’ negotiating teams.
The two sides are set to meet in Istanbul on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, for their first face-to-face peace talks in more than two weeks.
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