Billionaire Chelsea owner ‘flies to Belarus to assist in talks after a request from Kyiv amid calls for him to face sanctions
- Russian-Israeli billionaire has come under pressure to speak out about Ukraine
- A spokesman for Chelsea FC said he had been contacted by Ukrainian officials
- ‘He was contacted for support in achieving peaceful resolution,’ said spokesman
- Comes after businessman announced he was handing over ‘stewardship’ of club
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is trying to broker a deal to end to the war in Ukraine and has already arrived in Belarus to assist in peace talks, it has today been reported.
The Russian-Israeli billionaire is believed to have flown into the eastern European country ahead of crunch talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials later today.
The businessman, 55, who is one of Russia’s richest men and is reportedly worth more than £10billion, has come under pressure to speak out following the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin’s forces.
And there have been calls in Parliament for him to face sanctions as a major oligarch ‘with links to the Russian state’.
Mr Abramovich vehemently denies he is close to the Kremlin or has done anything that would merit sanctions being imposed against him.
On Saturday, amid the mounting pressure, Mr Abramovich announced plans to hand over the stewardship of his beloved Chelsea to the club’s charitable trust.
But now, in a surprising move, a spokesman for the club revealed that the businessman has been ‘trying to help’ in brokering a peace deal between his home country of Russia and Ukraine.
‘I can confirm that Roman Abramovich was contacted by the Ukrainian side for support in achieving a peaceful resolution and that he has been trying to help ever since,’ a Chelsea spokesman said.
The spokesman added: ‘Considering what is at stake, we would ask for your understanding as to why we have not commented on either the situation as such nor his involvement.’
It comes as Ukraine’s defence minister and other top Ukrainian officials are set to meet with Putin’s delegation on the Ukraine-Belarus border later today.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Mr Abramovich is already in Belarus, where delegations from Russia and Ukraine are set to meet on the border town of Gomel later.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Kornichuk told the news site he would not comment specifically on Abramovich’s involvement in the talks.
However, he added: ‘We appreciate anyone who can help if he has enough influence.’
Source: Daily Mail