28 February 2022

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich ‘trying to find peaceful resolution’ to Ukraine crisis

28 February 2022

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is trying to broker a peaceful end to the war in Ukraine, his spokesman said.

The Russian-Israeli billionaire has come under pressure to speak out following the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin’s forces.

There have been calls in Parliament for him to face sanctions as a major oligarch “with links to the Russian state”.

A spokesman for the Chelsea owner said: “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.

“Considering what is at stake, we would ask for your understanding as to why we have not commented on neither the situation as such nor his involvement.”

Mr Abramovich’s involvement followed a request from Ukrainian film producer Alexander Rodnyansky.

There were no further details about his role, although it was acknowledged his influence was “limited”.

“I can confirm that the Ukrainian side have been trying to find someone in Russia willing to help them in finding a peaceful resolution,” Mr Rodnyansky said.

“They are connected to Roman Abramovich through the Jewish community and reached out to him for help.

“Roman Abramovich has been trying to mobilize support for a peaceful resolution ever since.

“Although Roman 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 (Ukraine President Volodymyr) Zelensky’s staff myself, and know that they are grateful for his genuine efforts.”

Mr Abramovich stepped back from day-to-day running of Chelsea on Saturday night, handing stewardship to the west London club’s charitable foundation trustees.

In the Commons last week, Labour former minister Chris Bryant called for Mr Abramovich to be banned from owning the club.

He highlighted a leaked 2019 Home Office document which said that Mr Abramovich “remains of interest to HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) due to his links to the Russian state and his public association with corrupt activity and practices”.

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