Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich is attending the current talks in Istanbul between Russia and Ukraine, but is not an official member of the Russian delegation, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday.
Abramovich is “facilitating” to “ensure certain contacts between the Russian and Ukrainian sides,” he added.
“In order to hold contacts between the two parties, it is necessary to obtain approval from both parties. In the case of Abramovich, he has approval [of his participation] from both sides.”
Some background: Abramovich, who was sanctioned earlier this month by the UK government along with other Russian oligarchs following Russia’s invasion, has been acting as an intermediary between Russia and Ukraine, shuttling between Moscow, Kyiv, Istanbul, Warsaw and beyond amid a whirlwind of talks aimed at ending the conflict, his spokesman confirmed last month.
On Monday, a source close to the Ukrainian negotiation team told CNN that Abramovich and two Ukrainian peace negotiators suffered minor skin peeling and sore eyes during Ukraine-Russia talks “a few weeks ago” in Turkey, adding the incident was not regarded as serious.