Negotiators Report Probable Nerve Agent Attack in Ukraine Cease Fire Talks

The Wall Street Journal has an extraordinary story coming from Ukraine which has a haunting similarity to a story in Salisbury, England.

The Salisbury incident was about the attempted assassination attempt of the defector Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia by Russian agents. In the afternoon on March 3,2018, the authorities received a report of two people who were unconscious on a park bench located in Salisbury. The woman’s eyes were closed and she was squeezing her mouth. The victims were discovered to be victims of poisoning with nerve agents. Law enforcement officials eventually identified three GRU agents as suspects. They disappeared, and are likely to remain gone.

Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian peace negotiators had symptoms of nerve agent poisoning following a meeting in Kyiv earlier in the month, sources familiar with the situation claimed.

After the meeting in the Ukrainian capital, Mr. Abramovich, who went between Moscow, Lviv and other negotiations venues, as well as two of the senior participants of the Ukrainian team began to exhibit symptoms, including eye redness, continuous and painful tearing, and flaking skin around their hands and faces according to the sources.

Some of the victims blamed the alleged attack on hardliners from Moscow who, according to them, were trying to undermine the talks. Abramovich said it wasn't certain who was responsible.

Abramovich and the Ukrainian negotiators, which are composed of Crimean Tatar lawmaker Rustem Umerov, are now in better shape and aren't at risk. The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, who had a meeting in the past with Abramovich, wasn't affected as they claimed. Mr. Zelensky's spokesman claimed that there was no evidence of an alleged poisoning.

The Guardian has now followed up on the story. 

A billionaire, Roman Abramovich, and a Ukrainian peace negotiator had symptoms that could be a sign of poisoning earlier in the month, as per a person with intimate knowledge about the event.

Abramovich was participating in informal peace talks in the Ukrainian capital city, Kyiv around the time of his death, when he began to be sick, a source said to the Guardian. Ukrainian parliamentarian Rustem Umerov also was a part of the talks. The men then left Ukraine and went to Poland, then took a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, where they received medical care.

“It was during his first trip to Kyiv. Roman lost his sight for several hours. In Turkey, they were treated in a clinic, together with Rustem,” according to the source.

A website devoted to investigative journalism has revealed the background story in this collection of tweets recorded using threadreaderapp.

Bellingcat has confirmed that three members of the group participating in the peace and reconciliation discussions that took place between Ukraine and Russia in the evenings of March 3 and 4, 2022 experienced symptoms that are similar to poisoning by chemical weapons. One of the victims was Russian businessman Roman Abramovich.

Abramovich, together with another Russian businessman, had taken part in the talks along with Ukrainian MP Rustem Umerov. The negotiations in the afternoon of March 3rd, were held in Ukrainian territory and ran until around 10.

The three members on the negotiation team went to their apartment in Kyiv the following night. They began to experience symptoms, including irritation of the skin and eyes in the night. The symptoms continued to persist until the following morning.

The following day, the group of negotiators traveled through Kyiv to Lviv towards Poland, and later Istanbul, for informal talks with Russia. A Bellingcat investigator was appointed to provide an analysis by specialists in chemical weapons.

Based upon remote and on-site tests, the experts have concluded that the symptoms are likely to result from the international spread of poisoning using an unknown chemical weapon.

Another less likely possibility could be the use of microwave radiation. The symptoms began to diminish over the following week.

The three individuals who experienced the symptoms consumed just chocolate and water during the hours prior to when symptoms began to manifest. Another participant in the group who also consumed these drinks did not show symptoms.

According to two CW experts and a medical doctor, the symptoms appeared to be compatible with variations of organophosphates and porphyrin and bicyclic compounds. The definitive diagnosis was not possible due to absence of specialized laboratory equipment near the victims.

The experts stated that the amount and the type of toxin employed was unlikely to cause any serious injury; The attack was meant to scare the victims, rather than cause permanent damage. The victims stated that they had no idea of anyone who may have been involved in the incident.

Bellingcat did not report the story sooner because of concern for the security of the victims. Based on the decision of the people targeted to speak out, Bellingcat and its investigative partner @the_ins_ru are planning to release an investigation into what appears to be poisonings.

This is consistent with previous stories that have been published about Russian intelligence and the death squads of mercenaries pursuing Zelensky. The Russians executed a string of murders in Kiev in 2017, as well as Mariupol in 2017 as well, which is why it's likely the support network for those assassinations remains in place.

Vladimir Putin has been tearing down international norms of conduct for many years. This is the reason it's essential for our security that Putin be defeated in Ukraine in a clear and unambiguous manner, and the economy of Russia devastated. Putin has proven that he does not want to be part of a group of nations. He insists on having a place for Russia which nobody else in Europe is adamant about and is not deserved due to its economic or military strength. It is fortunate that no one was killed because of this blunder, and the people who conducted the operation and the people who planned and directed it will continue to hold their posts.

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