Roman Abramovich’s poisoning in Kyiv: Just days after Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich and two peace negotiators allegedly escaped an attempted poisoning.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Russian oligarch and two Ukrainian officials had suspected poisoned symptoms including skin peeling and loss of vision.
As Ukraine and Russia prepared to return to the bargaining table in Turkey, sources familiar with the situation reported the alleged poisoning.
The alleged poisoning, which occurred during meetings in Kyiv in early March, was blamed on Kremlin hardliners seeking to derail Russia-Ukraine peace talks.
According to the Journal, Mr. Abramovich escaped with symptoms such as red eyes, continuous and painful tearing, and skin peeling off his face and hands, all of which are signs of chemical weapons.
He also became blind for many hours before being treated in Turkey, according to a source who spoke to The Guardian.
He has recovered completely and is no longer in danger. The impact on the Ukraine negotiators, Crimean Tatar and Rustem Umerov, was unknown. President Zelensky of Ukraine, who met with Mr. Abramovich in Kyiv, was unaffected.
Mr. Abramovich had been to Kyiv at the request of Ukraine to assist in the negotiations with Putin, whom he had known since his stint as governor of the Chukotka region in Russia’s Arctic east.
Mr. Abramovich is suffering from the symptoms, according to a source close to him, but he will continue to negotiate until the battle is over.
Analysts at the investigative news organization Bellingcat verified that Mr. Abramovich was present in the Kyiv talks until 10 p.m. on March 3, when the party flew to Istanbul via Lviv and Poland to continue informal talks.
According to Bellingcat, the three guys who suffered symptoms drank only chocolate and water in the hours leading up to their symptoms, whereas a fourth person who consumed comparable foods was unaffected.
After examining the individuals, chemical weapons specialists, a doctor, and a Bellingcat investigator “concluded that the symptoms are most likely the consequence of international poisoning with an unidentified chemical weapon.”
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The symptoms were compatible with porphyrin, organophosphates, or bicyclic chemicals, but owing to a lack of specialized equipment, a conclusive diagnosis could not be made.
“Experts indicated the dose and kind of poison used were likely insufficient to inflict life-threatening harm, and that it was most likely intended to terrify the victims rather than create permanent damage,” Bellingcat continued.
The poisoning “was not intended to kill,” according to Bellingcat investigator Christo Grozev, who was part of the team that found Russian politician Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a nerve toxin in 2020.
“It was only a heads-up,” says the narrator. Grozev explained.
Zelensky claimed on Sunday that his administration has received offers of assistance from Russian businessmen, including Abramovich, who owns Chelsea Football Club and is trying to sell it despite Russian oligarch sanctions.
The businesspeople had indicated they wanted to “do something” and “assist somehow” to de-escalate Russia’s military campaign on Ukraine, which has left hundreds dead, Zelensky told media.
The accusation was denied as “speculation” by Mykhailo Podoliak, a presidential administration advisor, who added that all Ukrainian negotiators “are working as normal.”