Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich will donate Chelsea sale funds to Ukraine at ex-Russian spy widow Litvinenko’s request.
The “net earnings” from Roman Abramovich’s sale of Chelsea will be donated to a nonprofit foundation that aids Ukraine’s war victims.
This is after the widow of murdered Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko encouraged him to do so.
Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian agent, was assassinated in 2006, and his widow urged Roman Abramovich to contribute the proceeds from Chelsea’s sale to Ukraine’s war effort.
In a statement confirming his decision to sell, the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich wrote:
“I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine.
“This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.”
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last Thursday, he decided to sell Chelsea, and the revenues will be used to follow Marina Litvinenko’s suggestion.
In November 2006, ex-Russian spy Litvinenko was assassinated by radiation poisoning.
He was a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin based in the United Kingdom.
Putin “probably” approved his assassination, according to a public investigation into his death in 2015.
Marina Litvinenko has been a vocal opponent of Putin since her husband’s death, and she questioned Abramovich on Wednesday about why he suddenly wants to sell Chelsea.
“My advice is, if Abramovich wants people to see him as a human, with this money, he might donate to the Ukrainian fight for liberty, for their country, for their language, for everything,” Litvinenko told The Telegraph.
She added: “I don’t want to criticize and say, ‘Oh, you didn’t do this a long time ago.’
“But my husband was absolutely furious when he realized how easy it is for people who benefited from unfair business in Russia to receive everything in the UK.
“People just tried to close their eyes over where this money came from, but the first signal was in 2006 when my husband was killed and this radioactive polonium was used.
“How was the reaction? Not very strong. Even more since 2010, more money, more Russians are welcomed to London.
“The UK and everybody is just saying, ‘oh it’s a business, it’s very important.
“But it was all to a bad end. Could this have prevented a Ukrainian invasion? Difficult to say… if it helps to freeze assets, we have to do it.
“If we stop short of doing something for today, we might have lost something bigger in the future.”
Litvinenko’s comments emerged after Labour leader Keir Starmer called for Abramovich – who has always refused links to Putin – to be sanctioned.