According to reports Monday, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and several Ukrainian officials were apparently poisoned at a meeting to negotiate an end to the Moscow invasion, at which they were served only water and chocolate.
Abramovich, who accepted a Ukrainian request to help de-escalate the war, and at least two senior members involved in negotiations, suffered from peeling skin on his face and hands, constant and painful tearing after a meeting in Kyiv earlier this month and red eyes This reports the Wall Street Journal.
The billionaire owner of British football club Chelsea FC also had his eyesight “completely disappeared” for several hours, while a member of the Ukrainian delegation, MP Rustem Umerov, was partially blinded, according to two sources said the Financial Times.
“People went completely blind. . . the next day,” a source close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the newspaper.
Although there is no clear suspect behind the alleged poisoning, it is believed to be the work of Kremlin hardliners who oppose any negotiated settlement, the Journal reported.
According to Bellingcat, an investigative news site based in the Netherlands, the alleged poisoning happened after Abramovich and Umerov took part in negotiations with another Russian businessman on March 3.
In the time leading up to the onset of symptoms, the negotiators only consumed chocolate and water.
After the negotiation session ended, the members returned to an apartment in Kyiv. Uncomfortable symptoms soon followed, “including eye and skin sores and shooting pains in the eyes,” Bellingcat said.
The next day, the Ukrainian officials traveled to Poland. From there they flew to Istanbul for another round of negotiations.
According to Bellingcat, they were examined in Istanbul by a team of investigators who concluded their symptoms were consistent with poisoning caused by a chemical weapon.
Over the next few weeks, the symptoms gradually subsided. A fourth member of the Ukrainian delegation who was exposed to the same chemical agents had no symptoms, according to Bellingcat.
Abramovich and the other affected members have improved since the apparent attack and their lives are not believed to be in danger, the Journal reported.
The Russian oligarch shuttled back and forth between Moscow, Lviv, Kyiv and other locations in a diplomatic push to end the fighting, the outlet reported.
A spokesman for Abramovich did not comment last week when it was revealed that the Ukrainian government had campaigned against sanctioning the Kremlin confidante in hopes he could act as a mediator in peace talks. Abramovich was sanctioned by European powers but not by the US.
Zelensky, who reportedly met with Abramovich but was not present at the negotiations, was not injured by the suspected poisoning.
According to the Journal, Western officials are trying to determine whether the poisoning was carried out by a chemical or biological agent, or by some form of electromagnetic radiation attack.
Chemical weapons experts said the symptoms appeared to indicate the officers were being assaulted with porphyrins, organophosphates or bicyclics. Experts believe the dose used in the attack was intentionally low, and that the intent was simply to startle the targets rather than cause permanent, irreversible damage, Bellingcat reports.
When asked about the alleged poisoning, Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak denied the report, saying: “There is a lot of speculation, different conspiracy theories.”
With postal wires
https://nypost.com/2022/03/28/roman-abramovich-ukraine-officials-may-have-been-poisoned-report/ Roman Abramovich, Ukrainian officials ‘may have been poisoned’: report