Roman Abramovich
Poison, Jail And Suicide: How Vladimir Putin's Foes Disappear Photo by Alexander Hassenstein - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich who was allegedly poisoned during peace talks at the Ukraine-Belarus border earlier this month was said to have been in contact with the chemical Chloropicrin. The Chelsea Football Club owner has recovered but sources close to the Russian tycoon say he began to feel ill during his first trip to Kyiv with other members of the Russian-Ukrainian negotiating group who attended the peace talks on March 3 and 4.

According to The Guardian, investigative journalism outlet Bellingcat reported that Abramovich developed symptoms that were familiar to experts who said these were indicative of poisoning with an undefine chemical weapon. Ukrainian MP Rustem Umerov was among the attending members who suffered similar symptoms such as piercing eye pain and skin inflammation.

“Bellingcat can confirm that three members of the delegation attending the peace talks between Ukraine and Russia on the night of 3 to 4 March 2022 experienced symptoms consistent with poisoning with chemical weapons,” the source tweeted.

It is not clear how the poison was delivered as the peace delegation consumed the same food and drinks. Sources say this may have come from poisoned chocolates that were served during the peace talks.

Bellingcat investigative journalist Christo Grozev described the suspected poisoning incident as a possible warning from Russian hardliners who are trying to sabotage peace negotiations that may put an end to the Russia-Ukraine war. The attack was not meant to kill, Grozev said, as tests showed that the dosage of the chemical was not intended for this purpose.

Abramovich and his team have fully recovered from the poisoning but the exact substance has not been confirmed although some experts familiar with chemical warfare agents say a low dosage of Chloropicrin may have been used. This particular chemical was used during WWI and has been stockpiled in WWII. A majority of experts who saw photographs of the team’s symptoms agree on Chloropicrin, although some suggest a low dosage of Novichok may be the agent- which was used in the poisoning of Vladimir Putin’s foe Alexei Navalny who nearly lost his life and had to be treated in Germany.

Meanwhile, western experts say the symptoms may also have been the result of some electromagnetic-radiation attack.

A sample collection of specimens from Abramovich’s team could not be organized at the time they manifested symptoms as they were in a rush to head over to Istanbul for additional talks.

Chloropicrin is a known soil fumigant used in agriculture and is banned for military use. This can be released into the air via a liquid spray or used to contaminate food and water. Adverse side effects include severe irritation of the eyes, lungs, and skin.

Roman Abramovich
Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea smiles following his team's victory during the UEFA Champions League Final between Manchester City and Chelsea FC at Estadio do Dragao on May 29, 2021 in Porto, Portugal. Photo by Alexander Hassenstein - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

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