Roman Abramovich suffered symptoms of suspected poisoning during peace talks on the Ukraine-Belarus border earlier this month, sources close to the Russian billionaire have claimed.
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The ultra-rich Chelsea Football Club owner suffered from “red eyes, constant and painful tearing and scaly skin” on his face and hands. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said. Ukrainian MP Rustem Umerov and another negotiator were also affected by the alleged attack.
Sources close to Abramovich, who “has been commuting between Moscow, Belarus and other venues since Russia invaded Ukraine,” told the newspaper that he was “blinded for a few hours and later had trouble eating.”
The attack on Abramovich and others involved in talks to settle the conflict in Ukraine are said to have taken place on March 3. Sources close to the oligarch said his condition has since improved. He was pictured in the VIP lounge of an Israeli airport last week.
People with knowledge of the alleged poisoning told the WSJ that the blame “falls on hardliners in Moscow who they say wanted to sabotage talks to end the war.” A source close to Abramovich said it was “not clear” who was behind the attack.
The investigation into Abramovich’s mysterious symptoms was spearheaded by Christo Grozev, the senior investigator for Russia Bellingcat who first revealed that a team of Kremlin agents poisoned Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent in 2020.
The investigation found that the three people who later developed symptoms of poisoning “had consumed only chocolate and water in the hours prior to the onset of symptoms,” the WSJ reported.
Grozev told the newspaper he saw pictures of the oligarch after the attack. But “examinations of the people involved could not be arranged” because “these people were in a hurry to get to Istanbul,” the WSJ added.
That Abramovich survived the chemical attack suggests the poisoning “wasn’t meant to kill,” Grozev said, adding, “It was just a warning.”
The attack on Abramovich, who has long denied close ties to the Kremlin, shed “a light” on his “alleged role as mediator.” Intermediary in talks between Ukraine and Russia“, the BBC called. His spokesman had previously said his influence was “limited”.
Last week the WSJ separately revealed that Volodymyr Zelenskyy personally requested that the Biden government not sanction Abramovich. According to the newspaper, the Ukrainian president told his US counterpart in a call that Abramovich could “turn out to be an important mediator with Russia in supporting peace talks.”
“Several Ukrainian officials and officials from other Western governments” are “skeptical about how deeply involved Abramovich is in the peace talks,” the newspaper added. The Office of the President of Ukraine refused to comment on his role.
“People will inevitably wonder if this was the work of the Russian military intelligence agency GRU, which Britain concluded was behind it Novichok-Salisbury poisoning in 2018,” said BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner.
“But we have no idea who did it,” he added. “There is no claim to responsibility.”
“Centuries of Fascination”
Just as doubts remain about Abramovich’s involvement and influence in efforts to end the war, the “truth may never be known.” [the] latest ‘Russian poisoning’,” said The Guardians Defense and Security Editor Dan Sabbagh.
“The conspiracy appears bizarre in its initial narrative,” he said, “but the Kremlin has enough form in this area to present poisoning as a plausible cause, a hundred-year history stretching back to the founding of the Moscow Poisoning Laboratory X Laboratory of Vladimir Lenin.” in 1921.”
It is also known that the goal of such attacks is not “always killing,” he added. “Labour MP Chris Bryant revealed that he contracted food poisoning during an official trip to Russia in 2009, when he was a junior minister at the Foreign Office.”
Bryant later publicly stated that his symptoms were due to “standard irritants assigned by the FSB to ‘difficult’ visitors.”
Chemical attacks are “one of the favorite methods of murder used by the KGB, the successor to the NKVD, which provided an opportunity to flee the scene,” he said The times. And then Putin’s “rise to power”such attacks “have come back into fashion”.
In addition to the attacks on Navalny and the poisoning on British soil in Salisbury, Viktor Yushchenko, the former President of Ukraine, was disfigured when he was poisoned with dioxin in 2004, and Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko died after being attacked with the radionuclide polonium-210 in 2006 while he was living in London.
While the full facts may never be known, Russia has a “century-old fascination with deadly toxins,” the paper added. Abramovich could therefore be “the youngest casualty in Russia’s long history” of chemical weapons attacks.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/world-news/russia/956245/inside-poisoning-of-roman-abramovich Inside, the alleged poisoning of Roman Abramovich