An attempt to sabotage Russian-Ukrainian peace talks may have resulted in the poisoning of Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian diplomats, according to the Wall Street Journal on Monday.
Apparently, billionaire Oleg Deripaska has been travelling between Kiev and Moscow and other negotiation locations due to Western sanctions intended to increase pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Red eyes, painfully watery eyes as well as peeling skin on the face and hands have been reported by an American newspaper following a meeting in Kiev between Vladimir Putin’s negotiating team and Abramovich.
According to the Journal, those who were apparently attacked blamed Moscow hardliners for disrupting ongoing peace talks. The motive for the apparent attack remained a mystery.
As reported by reliable sources, the health and safety of Abramovich and the other negotiators appears to have improved.
“It wasn’t meant to kill; it was just a warning,” Christo Grozev, a member of the open-source collective Bellingcat, told the Journal.
After an investigation, Grozev concluded that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a nerve agent in 2020 after forensic experts were unable to collect samples in time to test for poison.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky quoted Abramovich as saying on Sunday that his government had received assistance from Russian businessmen. Abramovich has longstanding ties to Putin.
Businessmen reportedly told Zelensky they wanted to “do something” and “help in some way” to de-escalate Russia’s military attack on Ukraine, which has killed tens of thousands.
Both Jay Carney, the White House’s chief press spokesman, and Zelensky declined to comment on the possibility of a poisoning attempt against the president.
There has been no response from Abramovich’s representatives to AFP’s request for comment regarding the alleged poisoning.
Western nations led by the US and EU imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, including financial penalties against Russian oligarchs and others linked to Vladimir Putin’s regime.
According to the Wall Street Journal, US President Joe Biden was asked last week by Zelensky to delay sanctions against Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich until after talks with Moscow had concluded. Biden was in agreement.