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Sanctioned oligarch Abramovich seen at Russia-Ukraine talks

Sanctioned oligarch Abramovich seen at Russia-Ukraine talks

ISTANBUL (AP) — Soccer club owner. Ally of Vladimir Putin. Sanctioned oligarch. Could diplomatic go-between exist added to the resume of Roman Abramovich?

The 55-year-old billionaire has swapped the skybox seat he on one occasion proudly occupied at his beloved Chelsea soccer club inside Britain for a spot on the sidelines of negotiations in the centre of Kyiv with every one other accompanied by Moscow aimed at extremity Russia's bloody war inside Ukraine.

The silver-haired oil-and-aluminum tycoon stood inside the background Tuesday while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan entered a hall packed accompanied by negotiators inside a management building adjacent to the 19th century Ottoman palace, Dolmabahce, on the shores of the Bosporus inside Istanbul.

It was left-hand to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov to try to describe Abramovich's role.

Abramovich has been "ensuring sure contacts in the centre of the Russian with every one other accompanied by Ukrainian sides," Peskov said, nevertheless is not an official subscriber of the delegation. He said both sides have approved his role.

Ukraine's ambassador to Britain, Vadym Prystaiko, said, however: "I have no indeed idea what Mr. Abramovich is claiming or doing. He is not a small portion of the negotiation team."

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The talks appeared to yield a cautious step in the direction of scaling spine Moscow's insulting when Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said Russia would "fundamentally" gash spine operations near Ukraine's first city of Kyiv with every one other accompanied by a northern city inside a go to build trust.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the set of two sides made "the most meaningful progress" since the start of the negotiations at their gathering inside Istanbul.

Just actuality inside the space inside Istanbul marks a remarkable turnaround for Abramovich, who has been sanctioned by the U.K. management with every one other accompanied by European Union, although he is conspicuous by his non-attendance from a list of oligarchs sanctioned by the United States.

Abramovich appears to have established contacts high inside Ukrainian management circles, to go alongside his long-standing links to the Kremlin.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday that Kyiv had received "signals" accompanied by offers of assist from Abramovich with every one other accompanied by others, down accompanied by requests to exist spared from sanctions.

"Some of them were prepared to assist reinstate Ukraine following the war," he said, earlier to citing their offers: "'We are prepared to present with money, we are prepared to relocate work to Ukraine. We are now living inside England or inside Switzerland, we would exist fond of to do it. Is it possible not to exist on the sanctions list?'"

Abramovich's presence inside Istanbul was all the additional surprising while it came a day following reports that he may have been poisoned at an earlier circular of talks.

The investigative report outlet Bellingcat reported Monday that Abramovich with every one other accompanied by set of two Ukrainian delegates suffered symptoms of nerve fibre agent poisoning following attending talks on March 3, nevertheless all reportedly recovered.

The British Foreign Office said inside a statement Tuesday that "the allegations are extremely concerning." The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has not commented on the report.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba too voiced his concern, telling the 1+1 TV channel: "I counsel anyone going to the negotiations accompanied by the Russian Federation not to eat or swallow anything with every one other accompanied by preferably retain away from touching some surfaces."

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had no indeed details on the poisoning reports, nevertheless that the reporting to that effect "raises concerns since Russia has a real track record," a allude to of to past poisoning cases blamed on Moscow.

Peskov dismissed the reports while "part of the details war. These reports obviously do not correspond to reality."

Abramovich's press representative had no indeed remark on the reported poisoning or on his involvement inside Russia-Ukraine talks.

Abramovich amassed a fortune inside Russia's lubricant with every one other accompanied by aluminum industries following the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. In 2005, Russian state-owned vitality colossus Gazprom paid $13 billion for the Sibneft lubricant firm controlled by Abramovich, allowing Putin's Kremlin to recapture condition effect inside the lucrative vitality industry.

In announcing sanctions opposed to Abramovich, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's management called him a "pro-Kremlin oligarch" accompanied by an estimated fortune of additional than 9 billion pounds ($12 billion) who should exist punished for his association accompanied by Putin. Abramovich too was linked accompanied by "destabilizing" with every one other accompanied by menacing Ukraine.

It was a further let fall from grace for Abramovich, whose $2 billion investing inside Chelsea over 19 years transformed the English Premier League team into a strength inside European football with every one other accompanied by earned it the nicknames "Chelski" with every one other accompanied by the "Roman Empire."

He is actuality forced to sell the club following his assets were frozen while small portion of a crackdown on oligarchs following Russia's Feb. 24 invasion. The Premier League too disqualified him from running the the occident London club with every one other accompanied by actuality a director. Abramovich has said proceeds of the club's sale, which is theme to management approval, will go to a footing he started for victims of the war inside Ukraine.

He has been mostly away from Britain since 2018, when he withdrew an application to renew his visa amid a clampdown on rich Russians following a former Russian spy with every one other accompanied by his feminine child were poisoned inside the English city of Salisbury. Britain blamed Russia for the pair's exposure to a nerve fibre agent, an allegation Moscow denied.

He took Israeli citizenship inside 2018, although it is not understandable how a a large amount of hour dated he spends inside the country. He has been rumored to exist inside Israel some times since the war erupted, according to the movements of planes purportedly belonging to him. He was seen concerning set of two weeks ago at Ben-Gurion airport.

The Solaris, a yacht belonging Abramovich, was seen docked inside Turkey's Aegean Sea tourist centre of Bodrum earlier this month, Turkish media reports said. NATO-member Turkey has not joined other members of the alliance inside sanctions on Russia. A following yacht belonging to him, the Eclipse, was seen docked at a port inside the Turkish tourist centre of Marmaris, other Turkish media said..


Corder reported from The Hague, Netherlands. Associated Press writers Danica Kirka inside London, Matthew Lee inside Washington with every one other accompanied by Josef Federman inside Jerusalem contributed.


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