Roman Abramovich Suffered ‘Suspected Poisoning’ at Talks

Photo credit: TASS

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich may have been poisoned at the peace talks on the Ukraine-Belarus border that took place earlier in March. 

Sources close to Abramovich say that he suffered symptoms of suspected poisoning but has now recovered. Symptoms included sore eyes and peeling skin. 

Two peace negotiators on the Ukrainian side of the talks, including Ukrainian MP Rustem Umerov, also were said to have been affected as well. 

One report of the matter alleged that the poisoning was orchestrated by hardline Russians who wanted to sabotage the peace talks. 

Soon after the poisoning allegations first emerged, a U.S. official said that intelligence suggested the symptoms were because of “environmental” factors and said it was likely not poisoning. Later, an official from within the Ukrainian president’s office said that while he had not directly spoken to the Russian billionaire, members of the Ukrainian delegation were “fine” and the story was “false.” 

But other reports and experts have said it would hardly be surprising if the U.S. would want to dampen down suggestions that anyone, especially Russia, had used chemicals and chemical weapons in Ukraine. If they did, it could push the U.S. and its NATO allies to retaliate. 

Since the alleged chemical incident, the conditions of Abramovich and the Ukrainian negotiators have improved. Abramovich said in an interview with BBC News that he had recovered and would continue with the negotiations in order to try and end the war. 

Roman Abramovich owns the football club Chelsea FC. He has a reported role as a broker in the talks between Russia and Ukraine. The exact position within the negotiations is unclear, but he has traveled between Moscow and Kyiv for several rounds of discussions at the beginning of the month, and even met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the trip. 

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