Chelsea FC owner suffered ‘suspected poisoning’ at Russia-Ukraine peace talks

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Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich suffered symptoms of suspected poisoning at negotiations in Ukraine earlier this month, reports say. The Chelsea FC owner reportedly suffered sore eyes and skin peeling but has now recovered.Two Ukrainian peace negotiators were also said to have been affected.

The alleged poisoning was organised by Kremlin hardliners who wanted to sabotage the talks in Kyiv, The Wall Strret Journal reports.

The health of Abramovich and the Ukrainian delegates, have improved since the incident on March 3, the paper quoted sources as saying. A source close to Abramovich told the BBC he had suffered symptoms of suspected poisoning. They said he had now recovered and was continuing with efforts to try and end the war in Ukraine.

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The investigative journalism group Bellingcat said Mr Abramovich and the negotiators had symptoms “consistent with poisoning with chemical weapons”.The symptoms included “eye and skin inflammation and piercing pain in the eyes”, Bellingcat reported.A

Abramovich, recently slapped with sanctions by Western nations seeking to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine, has reportedly been shuttling between Kyiv, Moscow and other negotiation sites.

It was not clear exactly who may have conducted the apparent attack, but those targeted blamed hardliners in Moscow seeking to disrupt ongoing talks to end the war, the Journal said.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday that his government had received offers of support from Russian businessmen, including Abramovich, who owns and is seeking to sell Chelsea Football Club and has had longstanding links to Putin.

Zelensky told journalists that the businessmen had said they wanted to “do something” and “help somehow” to de-escalate Russia’s military assault on Ukraine that has left thousands dead.