Roman Abramovich and negotiators 'poisoned' during Ukraine-Russia peace talks

ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo reports on the latest peace talks between Russia and Ukraine and the suspected poisoning of Roman Abramovich

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and two Ukrainian negotiators were reportedly poisoned during peace talks earlier this month in a development branded "very concerning" by the Foreign Office.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that Abramovich, among others, suffered symptoms of poisoning following the talks in Kyiv - including peeling skin and piercing pain behind the eyes.

The former Chelsea FC owner had attended the negotiations after a request from Ukraine to help end the Russian invasion.

The Foreign Office said the UK will “continue to assist” by implementing tough sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime as well as by providing defensive and humanitarian support to put Ukraine “in the strongest possible negotiating position”.

ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo breaks down what we know about Roman Abramovich's reported poisoning

At least two seniors members of the Ukrainian team were also affected, according to the WSJ and Bellingcat.

Bellingcat commissioned expert chemical weapons analysis which decreed that the poisonings were most likely intentional.

The conditions of Abramovich and the others impacted by the suspected poisoning is said to have improved and their lives are not in danger.

The billionaire took part in talks on March 3 having been invited by Ukraine to try and broker peace.

For expert analysis of this topic, listen to the Ukraine episodes of the What You Need To Know podcast

The Guardian report that Abramovich lost his sight for a period after travelling to Istanbul and required treatment in Turkey.

Asked about the suspected poisoning, Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said "there is a lot of speculation, various conspiracy theories". Rustem Umerov, another member of the negotiating team, urged people not to trust "unverified information".A US official claimed an "environmental" reason was behind Abramovich and the negotiators falling ill, "E.g., not poisoning.".

Peace talks took place in Kyiv earlier in March

A fourth round of peace talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiating teams is planned to begin on Tuesday in Istanbul.

Abramovich has been disqualified as a director of Chelsea by the Premier League board after the Russian oligarch was sanctioned by the UK government.

The Russian put Chelsea up for sale on March 2, pledging to write off the Blues’ £1.5bn debt and to divert all proceeds to a new foundation to benefit victims of the war in Ukraine.

The club is currently going through the process of finding a new owner after shortlisting a number of prospective candidates.