Russian oligarch Abramovich seen at Ukraine peace talks in Turkey after poisoning claims

Billionaire Roman Abramovich was seen attending peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in Turkey despite reports that he had symptoms indicating a possible poisoning after a meeting in Kyiv earlier this month.

Abramovich, the owner of the Chelsea Football Club who has been sanctioned by the U.K. over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, was seen in attendance at the talks, and videos from the meeting show him in conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Reuters reported.

His presence was also confirmed by three sources, according to Reuters.

However, the oligarch is reportedly not part of the formal team negotiating the peace deal. Ukraine’s ambassador to Britain, Vadym Prystaiko, told the BBC, “I have no idea what Mr. Abramovich is claiming or doing. He is not a part of the negotiation team.”

The Kremlin has previously said that Abramovich played a role in early talks between Russia and Ukraine, but now negotiations are between the two countries.

Abramovich and two senior Ukrainian negotiators, including Crimean Tatar lawmaker Rustem Umerov, had symptoms earlier this month including red eyes, constant and painful tearing and peeling skin on their faces and hands, The Wall Street Journal reported. 

The suspected poisoning was blamed on Russians opposed to a peace deal with Ukraine. However, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has dismissed the poisoning reports as untrue and part of an “information war.”

A number of Kremlin opposition leaders have suffered poisonings in recent years, including Alexey Navalny.

The BBC added that Abramovich had now recovered and was continuing with negotiations to try to end the war in Ukraine.

Negotiations between the two sides are taking place in Turkey more than a month into the war that has seen thousands of casualties on both sides, reduced Ukrainian cities to rubble and led to stiff sanctions on Moscow from the West.

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