Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich was reportedly poisoned
Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea owner who put the club up for sale, was among a group of Ukrainian peace negotiators with symptoms of suspected poisoning after a meeting in Kyiv earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Abramovich has been trying to help Ukraine during Russia’s invasion of the country, which began in late February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told reporters on Sunday. Zelenskyi said he was helping the “humanitarian convoy taking people out of Mariupol,” which failed. In his work, the oligarch traveled between Moscow, Lviv and other places of negotiation.
After meeting in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, Ambramovich and at least two senior members of the Ukrainian team “developed symptoms including red eyes, constant and painful tearing and peeling of the skin on their face and hands,” according to the WSJ.
The conditions of those affected, including Abramovich and Crimean Tatar lawmaker Rustem Umerov, have reportedly improved and their lives are not in danger. About the WSJ:
Western experts dealing with the incident said it was difficult to determine whether the symptoms were caused by a chemical or biological agent or by some type of electromagnetic radiation attack, people familiar with the matter said.
It’s not clear who might have targeted the group, but some believe they are people intent on sabotaging talks to end the war.
Abramovich relinquished management of Chelsea
Abramovich announced on February 26 that he was handing over management of the Premier League club to his charitable foundation. He said in a statement he believed they were in “the best position to look after the interests of the club, players, staff and fans”.
Days later he changed tack and said he was ready to sell the club as it was in his best interests to do so. He bought Chelsea in 2003. The news came amid growing talks about British government sanctions against wealthy Russians following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Abramovich and Russian President Vladimir Putin are very close.
Following recent reports that the Russian oligarch was helping Ukraine, Zelenskyy confirmed this, describing his work as “part of a subgroup on the Russian side” in negotiations to end the war. He did not describe the exact role.
Billionaire businessmen across Russia are reportedly proposing aid to Ukraine and poised to pump money into the country after the war.
“I’m sure they’re not coming from a patriotic point of view. It’s just a loss of the comforts of life they’re used to,” Zelenskyy said over the weekend, via the Wall Street Journal. “And the situation in that sense is pretty bad right now, so they’re looking for a solution.”
Zelenskyi reportedly urged the US not to sanction Abramovich for his potential help in the negotiations. The US Treasury Department dropped its plans.