Ukraine's president asked Biden to hold off on sanctioning Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich: report
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The U.S. Treasury was reportedly poised to impose sanctions on Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich earlier this month, until Ukraine's president intervened.

The sanctions had been planned along with from the U.K. and European Union to punish Vladimir Putin's allies in response to the invasion of Ukraine, but that nation's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy personally asked President Joe Biden to hold off in hopes that Abramovich might help negotiate peace, reported the Wall Street Journal.

“For the negotiations, and in the interest of them succeeding, it is not helpful commenting on the process nor on Mr. Abramovich’s involvement,” said a spokesperson for Abramovich. “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.”

The Biden administration also declined comment, while the Treasury Department didn't respond to a request for comment.

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The U.K. and E.U. each went forward with sanctions against Abramovich, and officials from both governments said they had no knowledge of Zelenskyy's request, and some Ukrainian officials and officials from other governments expressed doubt about his involvement in peace talks.

Abramovich is a billionaire former oil magnate who has had close ties to the Kremlin for more than two decades, and he owns several megayachts and luxurious homes in the U.S. and U.K., where he also owns London’s Chelsea Football Club.

He has told associated he was trying to act as a go-between in the conflict, and he got involved after Ukrainian officials reached out to individuals with Russian contacts who might have an open line to Putin.

Film producer Alexander Rodnyansky, who founded a TV channel that showed programs produced by Zelenskyy and whose son is a Zelenskyy adviser, knew Abramovich through his funding of arts projects in Russia.

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