Roman Abramovich has accepted an offer from Ukraine to help negotiate a “peaceful resolution” to the Russian invasion, Jewish News can reveal.
A spokesperson for the billionaire and Chelsea Football Club owner confirmed on Monday morning that Ukraine had reached out to Abramovich over the weekend through his Jewish contacts in the country.
The spokesperson told Jewish News: “I can confirm 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. Considering what is at stake, we would ask for understanding as to why we have not commented on either the situation as such or his involvement.”
Abramovich and Chelsea Football Club have been criticised in recent days for not explicitly condemning the Russian invasion.
Jewish News can also reveal that Russian film director and businessman Alexander Rodnyansky was one of the key facilitators in Abramovich’s involvement in peace talks. He said: “I can confirm that the Ukrainian side have been trying to find someone in Russian willing to help them in finding a peaceful resolution. They are connected to Mr Abramovich through the Jewish community and reached out to him for help. Mr Abramovich has been trying to mobilise support for a peaceful resolution ever since.
“Although Mr Abramovich’s influence is limited, he is the only one who responded and taken it upon himself to try. If this will have an impact or not, I don’t know, but I am in contact with Zelensky’s staff myself, and know that they are grateful for his genuine efforts.”
Peace negotiations are currently being held at the border of Ukraine and Belarus.
Abramovich stepped back from the day-to-day running of Chelsea on Saturday night. He will retain ownership of Chelsea but has handed all decision making to the west London club’s charitable foundation trustees.
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