Abramovich, the oligarch who acts as a bridge to reach an agreement
Last Monday the news of the alleged poisoning in Kyiv of the Russian tycoon Roman Abramóvich jumped during informal conversations with two Ukrainian negotiators involved in the peace negotiations with Moscow. An informative bomb that exploded the day before the start of a new round of talks in Istanbul and that the Ukrainian government was quick to describe as “fake news”. Whether true or not, the involvement of the owner (for now) of the British soccer club Chelsea in attempts at a diplomatic resolution of the war in Ukraine raises questions. What does an oligarch like him do in peace negotiations?
Abramovich maintains good relations with both parties, so he could act as a bridge between Moscow and Kyiv. He is considered close to Russian President Vladimir Putin since his time as governor of the Chukotka region. The Kremlin itself has admitted that Abramovich played an early role in the peace talks, but says the process is now in the hands of teams of negotiators. Russian government sources assure that, during this time, the tycoon would have met both with Putin and with the Ukrainian president Volodímir Zelenski within these parallel contacts, according to Guardian .
Zelensky asks the US not to impose sanctions against the Russian tycoon as the United Kingdom has done
A spokesman for the oligarch confirmed shortly after the start of the war that the billionaire had been involved in attempts to resolve the conflict at the request of his friend, the Ukrainian film producer Oleksandr Rodnyansky, a man with close contacts with President Volodimir Zelensky for his past as an actor.
“I can confirm that the Ukrainian side has been trying to find someone in Russia willing to help them find a peaceful solution. They are connected to Roman Abramovich through the Jewish community [el magnate ruso tiene también la nacionalidad israelí y la portuguesa] and they approached him for help,” Rodnyansky himself reported. “Although his influence is limited, he is the only one who responded and took it upon himself to try,” he added.
Perhaps for this reason President Zelensky, according to various sources, has asked the United States government to refrain from imposing sanctions on the Russian oligarch. At the moment it seems that they have listened to him. Unlike in the United Kingdom, which has frozen his assets, which prevents him, among other things, from selling Chelsea, as he wished.
With his assets seized on this side of the Atlantic, it is reasonable to think that Abramovich would be interested in showing himself to be a useful actor in the resolution of the conflict to protect his interests in US territory and win the forgiveness by Boris Johnson.
Last Sunday Zelensky spoke about his involvement but avoided confirming or denying his request to Joe Biden in an interview with independent Russian media. “For various reasons, I cannot speak about some of our private conversations,” the president stressed. “I know that this businessman was in the subgroup for the Russian side. I know that he was, officially or unofficially, in contact (…). And he really helped in a humanitarian matter regarding the evacuation of people and a humanitarian convoy,” he said. “Everyone tried hard in Mariupol, and so did he, I know, but it didn’t work out. As I already said, the humanitarian convoy was attacked,” he added.
If their involvement in the peace negotiations has bothered someone and they wanted to warn them, it will be difficult to verify. The Kremlin, as always, denies this, and Kyiv will not allow this issue to hinder its efforts to reach an agreement. Yesterday, as if nothing had happened, Abramóvich sat in the meeting room in Istanbul where both delegations are trying to reach an agreement. Of course, in a discreet background.