Russian oligarch, Ukrainian negotiators had symptoms of suspected poisoning: report

AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File.

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian peace negotiators reportedly had symptoms indicating a possible poisoning after a meeting in Kyiv earlier this month. 

After their meeting, Abramovich and two senior Ukrainian negotiators, including Crimean Tatar lawmaker Rustem Umerov, had symptoms including red eyes, constant and painful tearing and peeling skin on their faces and hands, The Wall Street Journal reported

A person close to Abramovich told the Journal it was unclear who specifically targeted the trio, but people familiar with the matter placed blame on figures in Moscow who were attempting to foil talks to end the war.

Those sources also told the newspaper that the symptoms for Abramovich and the negotiators had improved and their lives were not in danger. 

They added that Western experts were unable to determine if the reaction was from a chemical or biological agent or an electromagnetic-radiation attack, the Journal reported.

But a U.S. official said their condition was due to an “environmental” reason “E.g., not poisoning,” according to Reuters.

Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said “there is a lot of speculation, various conspiracy theories” when asked about the report, Reuters noted.

Umerov also told people not to trust “unverified information,” the news service reported.

The Kremlin has previously said that Abramovich played a role in early talks between Russia and Ukraine, but now negotiations are between the two countries, with the next round of in-person talks set to take place in Istanbul on Tuesday, Reuters added.

Tags peace talks Roman Abramovich Russia Ukraine

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