The British newspaper, The Times, revealed a mediating role played by former Chelsea club owner Roman Abramovich, a Russian businessman, between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian Vladimir Putin.
The newspaper reported that a private plane took off from Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, headed east over the Black Sea, and entered Russian airspace over Sochi. Soon, as she approached Merlin Foddy’s town, she stopped her flight tracking. On the same day, the same plane departed from Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport and returned to Istanbul. On board was Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, the former Chelsea club owner who had served as President Putin’s unofficial envoy in talks with Ukraine.
In Moscow, Abramovich met Putin and presented him with a handwritten note from the Ukrainian president outlining the terms that Ukraine would consider agreeing to in order to end the war. Putin’s initial response was clear: “Tell him I will hit them.”
On his return to Istanbul, Abramovich met with Rustam Amirov, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, to discuss his meeting with Putin. The Times has learned that Amirov, a former businessman who speaks Russian and Turkish, is Kyiv’s envoy in the negotiations. The two men held a series of meetings at five-star hotels in Istanbul, which were coordinated by Ibrahim Kalin, Erdogan’s spokesman.
Despite Putin’s response to Zelensky’s memorandum, progress was announced in the talks, presenting more fully the prospect of a peace agreement in Ukraine, and a major diplomatic victory for Turkey, according to the newspaper.