Zelenskyy says Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich has been trying to help Ukraine during Russia’s invasion

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Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks while sitting in a chair

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during an interview with independent Russian news media from Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, March 27, 2022.Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via A

  • Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich has been trying to help Ukraine.

  • Zelenskyy said other Russian businessmen have also offered help, though he did not name them.

  • He said Russia’s business elite fear sanctions and want to find a way around them.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich has been trying to help Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion of the country.

Zelenskyy spoke with a group of independent Russian journalists on Sunday, where he was asked about a Wall Street Journal report that said he asked the US not to sanction Abramovich.

The reason, per the Journal, was that Zelenskyy thought Abramovich could be helpful in peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

The US Treasury accordingly dropped plans to sanction Abramovich, the Journal said.

Zelenskyy responded on Sunday by saying that Abramovich had indeed tried to help Ukraine: “As far as I am aware, he was helping with the humanitarian issue: with the humanitarian convoy taking people out of Mariupol.”

He did not elaborate on what help that was, but did say that the corridor plan failed. Repeated attempts to get people out of Mariupol, the city hit hardest by Russian attacks, have collapsed.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is seen on the stand during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Sunderland at Stamford Bridge

Roman Abramovich.Getty/Clive Mason

Ukraine said Russia shelled the convoy, though Russia blamed Ukraine.

Zelenskyy described Abramovich as “part of a sub-group from the Russia’s side” in negotiations around ending the conflict, but he did not describe exactly what role Abramovich has played.

Zelenskyy said Russian oligarchs are offering help in exchange for avoiding sanctions

Zelenskyy said that other Russian businessmen have suggested they want to help Ukraine. He said “there have been plenty of signals from him [Abramovich] and other businessmen offering help.”

He said that some of the businessmen said they were “ready to restore Ukraine after the war.”

“They were saying they were ready to give money, to move their businesses to Ukraine as long as they could bypass the sanctions.”

He expressed some skepticism over why they Abramovich and others were making the alleged offers: “I am sure they are not coming from a patriotic point of view. It’s just a loss of the comforts of life that they are used to. And the situation in that sense is pretty dire at the moment so they are looking for a solution. “

He also said that some of them said they were willing to help Ukraine’s military: “Some of the businessmen prefer to remain anonymous and say that they are prepared to help our army.”

It was not clear whether any help had been provided. Zelenskyy did not say which oligarchs had made the supposed offer, or how many of them had.

Russia told Russian media not to cover Zelenskyy’s interview.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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