Roman Abramovich Suffered 'Partial Blindness' and 'Peeling of Skin from Face' in Suspected Poisoning During Talks with Russia

According to the WSJ, the Chelsea FC owner was allegedly poisoned just weeks ago following a meeting in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv while acting as a "peacemaker" in the Russian war in Ukraine.

Russian billionaire and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich reportedly suffered a suspected poisoning along with at least two other peace negotiators from Ukraine earlier this month. According to reports, the poisoning caused Abramovich and the two other Ukrainian negotiator's skin to peel off their faces and temporary blindness after the peace talks.

However, Abramovich has since recovered but reports claim that the poisoning was a sign of chemical attack. The allegations come on the eve of the first face-to-face peace negotiations in weeks, amid concerns that the Kremlin was unwilling to compromise despite the fierce resistance its forces have faced since the invasion began.

Dangerous Conspiracy

Roman Abramovich
Roman Abramovich Twitter

Abramovich's representative confirmed on Sunday that the Russian oligarch had had the claimed symptoms, but refused to provide any other information. The claim was first reported by Wall Street Journal and investigative website Bellingcat.

According to the WSJ, the Chelsea FC owner was allegedly poisoned just weeks ago following a meeting in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv while acting as a "peacemaker" in the Russian war in Ukraine. According to the investigative website Bellingcat, Abramovich and the two other Ukrainian peace negotiators had symptoms such as "piercing pain in the eyes."

However, the dose and type of toxin used was unlikely to inflict life-threatening harm and was "most likely intended to scare."

Roman Abramovich
Roman Abramovich Twitter

Other reports claim that it was more than an attempt to just scare them. According to a source close to Abramovich, who accepted a Ukrainian plea to assist negotiate an end to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, he also "became blind for several hours" and had to be treated at a hospital in Turkey.

The health of the trio, which includes Crimean Tatar politician Rustem Umerov, has improved since then, and their lives are no longer in danger, according to the WSJ. "It was during his first trip to Kyiv. Roman lost his sight for several hours. In Turkey, they were treated in a clinic, together with Rustem," said the source.

Russia's Intentions Clear


Shortly after the allegations surfaced, Reuters quoted an unidentified US official as saying that intelligence indicated the men's illnesses were caused by "environmental" reasons rather than poisoning. However, even then, the strange symptoms of poisoning come amid continued aggression form Russia on Ukraine, with the war now into its second month.

Bellingcat stated that it has been aware of the probable poisoning for some time but chose not to make the information public "due to concern about the safety of the victims".

According to sources, the poisoning happened when Abramovich and the two other peace negotiators were at the meeting. "The three men experiencing the symptoms consumed only chocolate and water in the hours before the symptoms appeared. A fourth member of the team who also consumed these did not experience symptoms," wrote Bellingcat, which said one of its investigators had been asked to provide an opinion on the incident by chemical weapons specialists.

Roman Abramovich
Roman Abramovich Twitter

The news comes just days after Abramovich reportedly had traveled to Poland to act as a mediator between Putin and US President Joe Biden, who visited Rzeszow, Poland, just miles from the Ukrainian border last week.

During the trip to Kyiv, Abramovich had reportedly also met Zelensky, but the Ukrainian president was unaffected and his spokesman had no information of the incident. Abramovich was last seen in public on March 14, when he was photographed at Israel's Tel Aviv airport.

"Based on remote and on-site examinations, the experts concluded that the symptoms are most likely the result of ... poisoning with an undefined chemical weapon," said Bellingcat.

Roman Abramovich
Roman Abramovich Twitter

The tests showed that if the illness had been caused by poisoning, it was unlikely to have been at a dosage intended to kill, Bellingcat said. Asked about the suspected poisoning, Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak only said: "there is a lot of speculation, various conspiracy theories."

Umerov meanwhile urged people not to trust "unverified information".

Last week, the Kremlin admitted for the first time that Abramovich was part of early peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, but spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted on Thursday that the tycoon was no longer a member of the team.

The EU and the United Kingdom sanctioned Abramovich earlier this month for his suspected ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, which he denies. Zelensky, on the other hand, is said to have asked the United States to hold off on sanctioning Abramovich because he could help negotiate a peace accord with Moscow.