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Roman Abramovich returns for Russia-Ukraine peace talks

Roman Abramovich returns for Russia Ukraine peace talks


Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who was the victim of a suspected poisoning, resumed negotiations to end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Tuesday — while devastating airstrikes continued to rain down even as they met, blowing a huge hole in a Ukrainian local government building.

Abramovich — the sanctioned billionaire owner of Club World Cup soccer champions Chelsea — was photographed at the latest crisis talks in Turkey despite reportedly being blinded for hours after an earlier meeting.

He was reportedly poisoned alongside several Ukrainian delegates, all suffering peeling skin on their faces and hands, constant and painful tearing, and red eyes following a meeting in Kyiv earlier this month.

The Kremlin confirmed that the longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin has been playing an unofficial mediating role. 

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses Russian and Ukrainian negotiators before their face-to-face talks in Istanbul, Turkey, March 29, 2022.
Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS
Members of the Ukrainian Volunteer Corps fire with a howitzer, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, at a position in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine March 28, 2022.
Members of the Ukrainian Volunteer Corps fire with a howitzer, March 28, 2022.
REUTERS/Stanislav Yurchenko
Children and adults stay inside a subway station used as a bomb shelter
Children and adults stay inside a subway station used as a bomb shelter.
EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Abramovich has been “ensuring certain contacts between the Russian and Ukrainian sides” and that his role was approved by both countries. 

He denied reports of the earlier poisonings, however, dismissing them as part of an “information war.”

The delegates from both sides met Tuesday at an Istanbul palace, where Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said they had a “historic responsibility” to stop “this tragedy.”

destroyed government building after being hit by Russian rockets in Mykolaiv.
A destroyed government building after being hit by Russian rockets in Mykolaiv.
BULENT KILIC/AFP via Getty Images
Ukrainian soldiers look over the bodies of dead Russian soldiers after recent fights in the town of Trostsyanets
Ukrainian soldiers look over the bodies of dead Russian soldiers after recent fights in the town of Trostsyanets, March 28, 2022.
AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
Firefighters carry a dead body from the rubble of a government building hit by Russian rockets in Mykolaiv on March 29, 2022.
Firefighters carry a dead body from the rubble of a government building hit by Russian rockets in Mykolaiv on March 29, 2022.
BULENT KILIC/AFP via Getty Images

“We believe that there will be no losers in a just peace. Prolonging the conflict is not in anyone’s interest,” Erdogan said, as he greeted the two delegations seated on opposite sides of a long table for the first face-to-face peace talks in nearly three weeks.

The crucial talks began with “a cold welcome” and no handshake, according to Ukrainian TV — and Russian missiles continued to batter several Ukrainian cities even as the nations met.

Air raid sirens sounded before dawn across Ukraine, and a missile struck an oil depot in the western Rivne region overnight, the second attack on oil facilities in a region that has been spared the worst of the fighting. 

Deputy heads of Ukraine's Presidential Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko and Ukraine's presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak wait for the beginning of talks with the Russian delegation
Deputy heads of Ukraine’s Presidential Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko and Ukraine’s presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak wait for the beginning of talks with the Russian delegation, March 29, 2022.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) greeting Russian chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky (L), MP Leonid Slutsky (C), chairman of the Russian State Duma's International Affairs Committee the Russian and members of Ukrainian delegation during their meeting for talks in Istanbul.
The delegates from Russia and Ukraine met Tuesday at an Istanbul palace.
MURAT CETIN MUHURDAR/TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVI/AFP via Getty Images
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C) opening Ukrainian-Russian talks in Istanbul.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opening Ukrainian-Russian talks in Istanbul.
MURAT CETIN MUHURDAR/TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVI/AFP via Getty Images

On Tuesday morning, an explosion hit an administration center in Mykolaiv — blasting a gaping hole in the nine-story building.

Regional Gov. Vitaliy Kim said most people escaped the building and rescuers were searching for a handful of missing people.

“It’s terrible. They waited for people to go to work” before striking the building, he said. “I overslept. I’m lucky.”

Ukrainian servicemen ride atop tanks in the town of Trostsyanets, Ukraine, Monday, March 28, 2022
Ukrainian servicemen ride atop tanks in the town of Trostsyanets, Ukraine, Monday, March 28, 2022.
AP Photo/Felipe Dana
Russian invasion of Ukraine as of March 24, 2022.
Russian invasion of Ukraine as of March 24, 2022.
A resident stands next to parts of a destroyed Russian tank in the town of Trostsyanets, Ukraine, Monday, March 28, 2022
A resident stands next to parts of a destroyed Russian tank in the town of Trostsyanets, Ukraine, Monday, March 28, 2022
AP Photo/Felipe Dana

Ukraine military’s general staff said that “the enemy continues to vilely carry out missile and bomb strikes in an attempt to completely destroy the infrastructure and residential areas of Ukrainian cities.”

In an address on Monday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the ongoing attacks were part of “a ruthless war against our nation, against our people, against our children.”

He again lashed out at Western countries for not doing enough.

Destroyed vehicles and buildings are seen in the town of Trostsyanets, Ukraine, Monday, March 28, 2022.
Destroyed vehicles and buildings are seen in the town of Trostsyanets, Ukraine, Monday, March 28, 2022.
AP Photo/Felipe Dana
The body of a Russian soldier lays in the woods in Trostsyanets, Ukraine, Monday, March 28, 2022.
Trostsyanets was recently retaken by Ukrainian forces after being held by Russians since the early days of the war.
AP Photo/Felipe Dana

“If someone is afraid of Russia … it makes these people responsible for the catastrophe created by Russian troops in our cities, too,” he said. “Fear always makes you an accomplice.”

More than a month into the war, the biggest attack on a European nation since World War Two, there have been more than 3.9 million people who have fled abroad.

Thousands of civilians have also been killed, with officials in the hardest-hit city of Mariupol claiming at least 5,000 people — including about 210 children — have been killed there alone.

Local residents pass at a damaged Russian tank in the town of Trostsyanets
Local residents pass at a damaged Russian tank in the town of Trostsyanets, March 28, 2022.
AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
A man removes belongings from a residential house that was destroyed during shelling in a settlement outside Kharkiv
A man removes belongings from a residential house that was destroyed during shelling in a settlement outside Kharkiv.
REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Western intelligence believes Putin’s ground forces have become bogged down because of the stronger-than-expected Ukrainian resistance, combined with Russian tactical missteps, poor morale, shortages of food, fuel and cold weather gear, and other problems.

However, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu insisted Russia had largely completed the first phase of its so-called “special “special operation” and had degraded Ukraine’s military capabilities.

With Post wires



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