THEO VAN GOGH NEWS INTERESTING: Sources say Zelensky, who met with Abramovich, not affected / ABRAMOVICH IN ISRAEL & TURKEY

Abramovich, Ukrainian peace negotiators suffer suspected poisoning in Kyiv – report

Israeli-Russian billionaire’s symptoms said to include painful, tearing eyes, skin peeling from face and hands; sources blame Moscow hardliners who oppose peace talks



Russian-Israeli Oligarch Roman Abramovich suffered symptoms of suspected poisoning after a peace talk meeting earlier this month in Kyiv, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Ukrainian peace negotiators who participated in the meeting also suffered the same symptoms, according to the report, which cited people familiar with the developments.

The sources blamed the suspected attack on hardliners in Moscow who oppose talks to stop the conflict that has raged since Russia invading its neighbor last month.

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Abramovich and at least two senior members of the Ukrainian negotiating team developed symptoms of constant, painful tearing, as well as red eyes and skin peeling on their faces and hands. Their conditions have since improved and there was not thought to be a danger to their lives, the sources said.

Another of those who suffered the symptoms was Rustem Umerov, a Crimean Tatar lawmaker.

A source close to Abramovich said it is not clear who carried out the alleged poisoning.

Western experts who probed the incident said it is hard to verify if the symptoms were caused by a chemical or biological agent, or even possibly an electromagnetic-radiation attack, according to sources.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who also met with Abramovich, has not been affected, the sources said. A spokesperson for Zelensky said he had no information about any poisoning, according to the report.

Abramovich has been one of the only oligarchs who has spoken out publicly about his efforts to push Moscow to reach a peaceful resolution.

He has shuttled between Moscow and Kyiv, as well as “other negotiating locations,” the WSJ reported.

Last week, the paper reported that Zelensky asked Washington to not put sanctions on Abramovich, as Europe did to him and other oligarchs, telling US President Joe Biden that he hoped the Israeli-Russian billionaire would be able to help mediate between Kyiv and Moscow.

But unnamed US officials told the Journal that they are not convinced Abramovich has been helpful in the talks between Russia and Ukraine, and intelligence assessments drew the same conclusion.

Earlier this month, Abramovich was spotted at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv before his private plane took him to Moscow via Istanbul.

Israel is also involved in negotiations efforts and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has spoken several times with Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bennett also made a lightning trip to Moscow to speak directly with Putin.

Last week, the UK’s Financial Times newspaper reported that Putin personally approved Abramovich’s involvement in the peace efforts. However, an official for Bennett told the paper that Abramovich did not play a part in bringing Israel into the process.