Zelenskyy Reportedly Asks U.S. to Drop Abramovich Sanctions to Facilitate Peace Talks

The Russian-Israeli oligarch Roman Abramovich accepted a Ukrainian request to help negotiate an end to the conflict last month, according to his spokeswoman

Haaretz
Reuters
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea football club Roman Abramovich arrives at a division of the High Court in central London October 31, 2011.
Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea football club Roman Abramovich arrives at a division of the High Court in central London October 31, 2011.Credit: REUTERS/Andrew Winning
Haaretz
Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy advised U.S. President Joe Biden not to carry out punishing sanctions against Russian-Israeli oligarch Roman Abramovich, who may act as a go-between in peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, according to the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

The U.S. sanctions, drafted earlier this month, were expected to be released along with those from the UK and European Union, according to the report.

The Kremlin on Thursday said sanctioned Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich played an early role in peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, but the process was now in the hands of the two sides' negotiating teams.

"He did take part at the initial stage," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters. "Now the negotiations are between the two teams, the Russians and Ukrainians."

Biden, who flew to Brussels on Wednesday for meetings with European and G7 counterparts, reportedly discussed a range of sanctions with Zelenskyy, in addition to those planned for Abramovich.

Abramovich, who owns Premier League club Chelsea, accepted a Ukrainian request to help negotiate an end to the conflict last month, according to his spokeswoman.

"I can confirm Roman Abramovich was contacted by the Ukrainian side for support in achieving a peaceful resolution, and that he has been trying to help ever since," a spokeswoman said.

"Considering what is at stake, we would ask for understanding as to why we have not commented on either the situation as such or his involvement."

Both the UK and the EU sanctioned Abramovich earlier this month over his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin, freezing his assets in their jurisdictions.

Abramovich, who is Jewish and has Israeli citizenship, was among a class of Russian businessmen who found their fortunes during the chaotic 1991 break-up of the Soviet Union and the wave of privatization that followed.

A commodity trader who thrived in the post-Soviet disorder of the 1990s under then-President Boris Yeltsin, Abramovich acquired stakes in the Sibneft oil company, Rusal aluminium producer and Aeroflot airline that were later sold.

He later served as governor of the remote Arctic region of Chukotka in Russia's Far East under Putin, who Abramovich has kept a close relationship with for decades.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

Relatives mourn during the funeral of four teenage Palestinians from the Nijm family killed by an errant rocket in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, August 7.

Why Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rockets Kill So Many Palestinians

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed

AIPAC

AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op