Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was one of several Russian oligarchs to experience symptoms of poisoning after holding talks with Ukrainian peace negotiators in Kyiv earlier this month, according to reports.
The 55-year-old, who was recently sanctioned by the UK government along with a number of other prominent Russian figures, was said to have developed a number of concerning symptoms after leaving the summit.
Abramovich and two senior members of the Ukrainian team suffered from symptoms that included constant and painful tearing, reddening of the eyes and peeling skin on their faces and hands, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The report claims that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy met Abramovich recently but has not been affected, while the lives of the Chelsea owner and the Ukrainian officials are not believed to be in danger.
The suspected poisoning is reported to have been carried out by Moscow hardliners who are believed to be looking to sabotage talks to end the war in Ukraine. Abramovich is believed to have been shuttling back and forth between Moscow, Lviv and other negotiating venues in the country since the start of the conflict.
It comes after Abramovich, who has owned Chelsea since 2003 and is a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was hit with a number of sanctions by the UK government and the European Union due to the situation in Ukraine. The Blues supremo recently announced his desire to offload the club before the restrictions against him were introduced earlier this month.
Abramovich will still be allowed to oversee a change in ownership in spite of the current sanctions in place, though, with any money raised needing to be frozen by the government or channelled into a charity. A number of parties are still understood to be in the running to buy Chelsea and a full-scale takeover could be completed by the end of April as things stand.
The preferred bid will be presented to the UK government and the Premier League on April 18, according to Sky Sports. Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has already insisted that he will be looking to facilitate a quick transition when asked for his thoughts on the situation at Chelsea earlier this month.