Roman Abramovich’s abrupt transformation from rejected oligarch to war envoy

Early in the morning, Moscow began its invasion of Ukraine, the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich was shaken from his sleep by a phone call from a Ukrainian film producer with an urgent request. Was he ready to help stop the fighting?

Ukrainian government officials were concerned that their Russian counterparts were not conveying their messages correctly to the Kremlin, according to people familiar with the matter. They wanted a Russian businessman to act as an informal intermediary – to deliver messages directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin and to help them understand what the Russian leader was thinking.


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