Zelensky advised Biden against placing sanctions on Abramovich

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reportedly advised US President Joe Biden to hold off on placing sanctions on Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, the Wall Street Journal reported. Zelensky feels Abramovich may serve as an intermediary with Moscow to help negotiate peace, according to the newspaper’s sources with knowledge of a recent call between Zelensky and Biden.

The White House declined to comment on reports that Zelensky advised Biden against sanctioning Abramovich. “We are not going to read out private conversations between President Biden and President Zelensky,” the White House’s National Security Council spokeswoman stated.

The US Treasury Department drafted a set of sanctions to punish Abramovich earlier this month.

Abramovich has already been sanctioned by the EU and UK. As the owner of Chelsea soccer club, he is the most well-known Russian oligarch. Prior to being placed on the UK’s sanctions list, Abramovich announced he intended to sell the club. Any such sale must now be approved by the British government.

“The license will be kept under constant review and we will work closely with the football authorities,” a UK government spokesperson said.

Abramovich is the only oligarch to publicly call for a peaceful solution to Russia’s war against Ukraine.

According to the oligarch’s spokesperson, “For the negotiations, and in the interest of them succeeding, it is not helpful commenting on the process nor on Mr. Abramovich’s involvement. As previously stated, based on requests, including from Jewish organizations in Ukraine, he has been doing all he can to support efforts aimed at restoring peace as soon as possible.”

  Russia, Roman Abramovich