Roman Abramovich is ‘fine’ after reportedly suffering symptoms of suspected ‘chemical weapons’ poisoning and is continuing peace talks over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to the investigative website Bellingcat, Abramovich and Ukrainian peace negotiators suffered symptoms including “piercing pain in the eyes”, but the dosage and type of toxin was likely insufficient to cause life-threatening damage and “most likely was intended to scare”.
Sky Sports News also understands Abramovich’s life is not in danger after the incident. Chelsea have been approached for comment.
Bellingcat tweeted: “Bellingcat can confirm that three members of the delegation attending the peace talks between Ukraine and Russia on the night of 3 to 4 March 2022 experienced symptoms consistent with poisoning with chemical weapons.
“One of victims was Russian entrepreneur Roman Abramovich.”
Abramovich has reportedly travelled between Moscow and Kyiv during the several rounds of negotiations amid the war.
The billionaire and at least two senior members of the Ukrainian team developed symptoms that included red eyes, constant and painful tearing, and peeling skin on their faces and hands, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The health conditions of the trio, who include Crimean Tatar politician Rustem Umerov, have since improved and their lives are not in danger, the publication added.
In a series of tweets, Bellingcat added more details, saying: “Abramovich, along with another Russian entrepreneur, had taken part in the negotiations alongside Ukraine’s MP Rustem Umerov. The negotiation round on the afternoon of 3 March took place on Ukrainian territory, and lasted until about 10pm.
“Three members of the negotiating team retreated to an apartment in Kyiv later that night and felt initial symptoms – including eye and skin inflammation and piercing pain in the eyes – later that night. The symptoms did not abate until the morning.
“The next day the group of negotiators drove from Kyiv to Lviv on the way to Poland and then Istanbul, to continue informal negotiations with the Russian side. A Bellingcat investigator was asked to help provide an examination by chemical weapons specialists.
“Based on remote and on-site examinations, the experts concluded that the symptoms are most likely the result of international poisoning with an undefined chemical weapon.
“An alternative less likely hypothesis was use of microwave irradiation. The symptoms gradually subsided in the course of the following week.”
The preferred bid for Chelsea will be presented to the government and the Premier League on April 18, meaning a change of ownership at the club could take place by the end of next month.
Sky News has learnt a letter sent to the four remaining contenders to buy Chelsea over the weekend indicates the government will be approached to issue a licence enabling the sale during the week of April 18.
The additional detail underlines the speed at which Raine Group, the merchant bank overseeing the sale process, is conducting one of the most hotly contested corporate auctions in sporting history.
Richard Masters, the Premier League chief executive, has publicly indicated it will examine a preferred bidder under its owners’ and directors’ test as speedily as possible, citing a previous club takeover that was approved within 10 days.