The billionaire businessman has apparently been shuttling between Kyiv, Moscow, and other negotiation venues after being slammed with sanctions by Western nations aiming to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine.
Red eyes and peeling skin plagued Roman Abramovich.
According to sources quoted by the American newspaper, Abramovich and at least two senior Ukrainian negotiators had symptoms such as hot eyes, excruciatingly wet eyes, and peeling skin on their face and hands after a meeting in Ukraine’s capital.
Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian presidential adviser, did not confirm the incident, instead suggesting that “only official information” be followed.
“Today is business as usual for all members of the bargaining team,” he said.
“There is a lot of speculation and conspiracy theories concerning the information in the media.”
It was unclear who might have carried out the claimed attack, but those targeted blamed hardliners in Moscow for trying to sabotage ongoing peace efforts, according to the Journal.
Roman Abramovich’s and the other negotiators’ situations have improved, and their lives are no longer under danger, according to the sources.
After investigating the incident, Christo Grozev, an investigator with open-source collective Bellingcat, said in the Journal, “It wasn’t intended to kill, it was only a warning.”
Grozev, who ruled in 2020 that Kremlin operatives poisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent following an inquiry, saw photographs of the alleged Abramovich attack, but no samples could be obtained in time for forensic scientists to detect poison, according to the article.
The three males who were suffering symptoms “consumed only chocolate and water in the hours before the symptoms appeared,” according to Bellingcat on Twitter.
On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed his government had received offers of assistance from Russian businesspeople, notably Roman Abramovich, who owns Chelsea Football Club and has long had ties to Putin.
The businesspeople had indicated they wanted to “do something” and “assist somehow” to de-escalate Russia’s military campaign on Ukraine, which has left hundreds dead, Zelensky told media.
According to the Journal, Zelensky made no mention of a possible poisoning, and a presidential spokesperson had no knowledge of such an attack.
Western countries, particularly the United States and the European Union, have levied extraordinary sanctions against Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, including sanctioning oligarchs and other close associates of Putin.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Zelensky persuaded US President Joe Biden to delay penalizing Abramovich because the Russian billionaire may help negotiate a peace accord with Moscow.