Russian-Israeli billionaire Roman Abramovich, who owns the Premier League football club Chelsea, has come under pressure to speak out following the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putins forces, PA Media reported.
There have been calls in the Parliament for him to face sanctions as a major oligarch “with links to the Russian state”, The Guardian reported.
A spokesman for the Chelsea owner said: “I can confirm that Roman Abramovich was contacted by the Ukrainian side for support in achieving a peaceful resolution, and that he has been trying to help ever since.
“Considering what is at stake, we would ask for your understanding as to why we have not commented on neither the situation as such nor his involvement.”
Abramovich’s involvement followed a request from Ukrainian film producer Alexander Rodnyansky.
There were no further details about Abramovich’s role, although it was acknowledged that his influence was “limited”, The Guardian reported.
“I can confirm that the Ukrainian side have been trying to find someone in Russia willing to help them in finding a peaceful resolution,” Rodnyansky said.
He added: “They are connected to Roman Abramovich through the Jewish community and reached out to him for help. Roman Abramovich has been trying to mobilise support for a peaceful resolution ever since.
“Although Roman Abramovich’s influence is limited, he is the only one who responded and taken it upon himself to try.
“If this will have an impact or not, I don’t know, but I am in contact with (Ukraine President Volodymyr) Zelenskiy’s staff myself, and know that they are grateful for his genuine efforts”.
Abramovich stepped back from day-to-day running of Chelsea on Saturday night, handing stewardship to the west London club’s charitable foundation trustees, The Guardian reported.