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Have Abramovich and Ukrainian peace negotiators been poisoned?

The Russian oligarch is said to have symptoms consistent with those who have been targeted by Russian poisoning in the past.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in the stands
John SibleyReuters

The Wall Street Journal, with the help of investigative journalism group Bellingcat, has reported that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, as well as a delegation of Ukrainian peace negotiators, may have been poisoned at the beginning of March.

The group is said to have been targeted while negotiations were ongoing in Ukraine. Symptoms including sweating, irritation and peeling skin. The symptoms are not thought to be life threatening and some analysts have proposed that they were a scare tactic to put pressure on those looking for a settlement.

Abramovich had been requested by Ukraine to help mediate an end to the conflict, and the oligarch is residing in Turkey during his recovery. 

Chelsea FC remains up for sale and a shortlist of interested buyers has been released. Abramovich is still in Turkey as his assets in the UK have been frozen.

How were they poisoned?

There are two theories for how the poisoning was carried out, one supposing it was through food while the other was the use of microwave radiation. All those affected were treated in Turkey and Abramovich is said to have lost his eyesight until he was treated in Istanbul on March 4.

"According to two consulted CW experts and a doctor, the symptoms were most consistent with variants of porphyrin, organophosphates, or bicyclic substances. A definitive determination was not possible due to the absence of specialized laboratory equipment near the victims", Bellingcat reported.

The information has only just been released to protect the safety of those involved. No statement has been released from Russia or Ukraine as of yet which may provide more information.


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