Ukraine asks Chelsea owner Abramovich ‘to help with peace talks’

Roman Abramovich was reportedly approached by Ukraine to help broker 'a peaceful resolution' to the conflict with Russia

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been contacted by Ukraine to try to help broker peace with Russia, according to his spokesperson.

The two countries have been in conflict since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a special military operation last week.

On Saturday, Chelsea announced that Abramovich was handing over "stewardship and care" of the London club to its foundation's trustees.

As stated by Abramovich's spokesperson on Monday, as part of a report by Jewish News and later confirmed elsewhere, the 55-year-old has been "contacted by the Ukrainian side for support in achieving a peaceful resolution" which he has been trying to help reach "ever since."

"Considering what is at stake, we would ask for your understanding as to why we have not commented on neither the situation as such nor his involvement" the spokesperson added.

Ukrainian film director Alexander Rodnyansky similarly confirmed Abramovich's role as negotiations take place between Russia and Ukraine the Gomel region in Belarus.

"I can confirm that the Ukrainian side have been trying to find someone in Russia willing to help them in finding a peaceful resolution," Rodnyansky said.

"They are connected to Roman Abramovich through the Jewish community and reached out to him for help.

"Although Roman Abramovich's influence is limited, he is the only one who responded and taken it upon himself to try.

“If this will have an impact or not, I don’t know, but I am in contact with [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky’s staff myself, and know that they are grateful for his genuine efforts," Rodnyansky claimed.

Some British MPs have questioned whether Abramovich should still be allowed to own Chelsea since Russia launched the military operation, which Moscow said is aimed at defending the newly recognized Donbass republics and "demilitarizing" and "de-Nazifying" Ukraine. 

However, it is claimed by Sky Sports that Abramovich is adamant not to sell the club he has invested an estimated $1.4 billion in over a near two-decade period that has yielded over 20 trophies.

Following Saturday's announcement, Abramovich will reportedly no longer be involved in the club's day-to-day affairs, with such responsibilities now passed on to Chelsea Foundation trustees Bruce Buck, John Devine, Emma Hayes, Piara Powar, and Hugh Robertson when they assume stewardship.

Executive director Marina Granovskaia, manager Thomas Tuchel, and technical advisor Petr Cech will continue to make transfer decisions within the club's budget and Financial Far Play rules.

However, the Chelsea Foundation's trustees have reportedly yet to fully agree to take over the club.