Oligarch in Peace Talks May Have Been Poisoned

'Wall Street Journal' reports on Roman Abramovich, who is recovering
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2022 11:46 AM CDT
Oligarch in Peace Talks May Have Been Poisoned
A file photo of Roman Abramovich, owner of the Chelsea soccer team.   (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

The Wall Street Journal is out with a startling, if unconfirmed, story about peace talks to end Russia's war in Ukraine. The newspaper reports that a Russian oligarch who is participating in the talks has been the victim of suspected poisoning by hard-liners in his country who want to torpedo the negotiations. Representatives on the Ukraine side reportedly suffered the same fate as Roman Abramovich after a meeting in the Ukraine capital of Kyiv earlier in March. All are recovering after developing symptoms "that included red eyes, constant and painful tearing, and peeling skin on their faces and hands," per the Journal.

The story quotes investigator Christo Grozev of Bellingcat—an outfit that has looked into previous poisonings in Russia—who says "it was not intended to kill, it was just a warning." He adds that too much time had passed for a forensics teams to detect a poison in the apparent victims. Abramovich, owner of the Chelsea soccer team in the UK, is one of Russia's richest men and has long ties to Vladimir Putin. The report comes as negotiators arrive in Turkey to begin another round of talks on Tuesday, reports CNN. It was not clear whether Abramovich is one of the participants. (Ukraine leader Zelensky is open to declaring some form of neutrality for his nation.)

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