The long shadow of poison: “Hands off food and water”. And Abramovich goes to the table

The “negotiator” Abramovich Roman was there yesterday morning, in his place, in Istanbul. Translation cap on the ears, blue blazer on open shirt at the neck, according to his style, not invited to the large negotiating table but placed on a nearby chair, in a position which only confirms the ambiguous role of the oligarch in the arduous road to peace between Russia and Ukraine.

Who is Abramovich? Is he a friend or an enemy of Vladimir Putin? And in negotiations, what is it, exactly? An animator, a puppeteer, a mythomaniac, a guest star? These questions add to many doubts about the alleged poisoning of the former Chelsea owner which allegedly occurred three weeks ago during a series of talks between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Belarus. He and two Ukrainian officials reportedly blamed “red eyes, peeling skin on face and hands”. Even Abramovich, once landed in Turkey, would have been blind for a few hours. Attack? Intimidation? Framework? And who ultimately had an interest in killing or terrorizing the icy-eyed tycoon?

Yesterday didn’t help unravel the problem, which was even more complicated. The BBC, reportedly peeking in a confidential report, dwelt on the alleged poisoning and the trail of Russian extremists accused of undermining the path to peace. An anonymous American intelligence official would rather have dismissed the case as a simple “environmental pollution” and even from Ukraine the denials rained down: the members of the Ukrainian crew would have all been well and the poisoning would not have was just cleverly invented nonsense. By whom and why we do not know. The Kremlin of course denies everything, speaking of something that has to do with war propaganda and not with reality. But what do you want them to say in Moscow?

If the if is not clear, let alone the how. Chemical agents as the BBC claims? A substance atomized in the air as guaranteed by the Wall Street Journal? Or a poisoned chocolate drunk near kyiv, as the investigative site Bellingcat speculates? Admittedly, “Abrahamization” has polluted the Istanbul talks. So much so that according to British broadcaster Sky News, Kyiv’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba advised “anyone negotiating with the Russian Federation not to eat or drink and preferably avoid touching any surface” . Fortunately, in kyiv they do not believe in poisoning.

But the biggest mystery concerns Abramovich himself, who after freezing his business in London and giving up (for now?) managing the most prestigious of his activities, European champions Chelsea, due to sanctions against the Putin oligarchs, has reinvented itself. like a vagrant of the negotiations on the axis kyiv-Moscow-Minsk-Istanbul, an indefatigable parsley of the peace negotiations, to whom one does not know by whom. From Putin? Maybe, but the relationship between the two has always been borderline. The Tsar did not know how much he could trust the oligarch, and his mistrust in this matter was heightened by the Ukrainian origins of Abramovich’s mother and the explicit positions of Rome’s daughter, Sophia, against the war. For this reason, the oligarch appears more in Zelensky, who in fact did everything to insert him into the negotiations, going so far as to pressure Joe Biden to spare him from American sanctions, contrary to what was done. by the UK. and the EU. But when he confronted this, handing a note to the Russian president with Ukrainian demands in the negotiations, Putin froze him, saying: “Tell him that I will annihilate them”.

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