Spokesman Denies Report Billionaire Abramovich in Kyiv for Peace Talks
Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich has traveled to Kyiv, Ukraine, to facilitate stalled peace talks with Russia, although his spokesman denies the billionaire is in Kyiv, Bloomberg News reported Saturday.
The billionaire Abramovich has ties to Vladimir Putin and has been asked by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to get involved in helping stop the Russian invasion.
Talks are at a “dead end because we will not trade our territory and our people,” and Russia’s threat to destroy the remaining Ukrainian troops in Mariupol might “put an end” to peace talks, Zelenskyy said Saturday, Bloomberg reported.
But Abramovich “represents the side that backs a diplomatic resolution and end to the war,” Zelenskyy noted. “Nobody can guarantee that it isn’t a game.”
Abramovich attended the last round of face-to-face meetings March 29 in Istanbul, Turkey, but the talks stalled and Russia has then refocused its invasion efforts in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine, closer to the Russia border and along the southern edge with the Black Sea.
Britain sanctioned two close associates of Abramovich in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying Thursday the men had been subjected to the largest asset freeze ever imposed by the government.
Chelsea Football Club director Eugene Tenenbaum and another Abramovich business associate, David Davidovich, were targeted. Davidovich will also face a travel ban, meaning he will be refused the right to enter or remain in Britain.
Abramovich, a billionaire businessman, transferred two companies he controlled to Tenenbaum and Davidovich on the day Russia invaded Ukraine, Reuters reported last month.
The government said it had imposed a freezing order on $10 billion worth of assets linked to the two men, who were being sanctioned for their close association with Abramovich, who was among several wealthy Russians added last month to British and European Union sanctions.
“We are tightening the ratchet on Putin’s war machine and targeting the circle of people closest to the Kremlin,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said. “We will keep going with sanctions until Putin fails in Ukraine. Nothing and no one is off the table.”
Abramovich has previously denied having close ties to Putin.