Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich participated in the last major exchange of prisoners between Ukraine and Russia. He was a mediator and communicated closely with the director of the FSB, Aleksandr Bortnikov, and the head of the Presidentʼs Office, Andriy Yermak.
The Washington Post writes about this with reference to sources.
For several months, Abramovich flew to Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and Moscow as part of the prisoner exchange negotiations. He held meetings with the Bornnikov and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, informing Yermak of their progress.
Abramovich helped coordinate the return to Ukraine of 10 captured foreigners who fought for Ukraine and were sentenced to death by the occupiers.
American and Ukrainian officials believe that in this way, Abramovich wants to improve his position in the West since he is currently under sanctions.
Riyadhʼs role in the exchange is also, according to officials, related to an attempt to restore relations with the West after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia denies such motives.
- On the night of September 22, Ukraine exchanged prisoners with Russia. Ukraine returned 215 defenders of Mariupol, including the commanders of the "Azov" regiment, and Putinʼs godfather Viktor Medvedchuk and 55 Russian soldiers were returned to Russia.
- On the afternoon of September 21, it became known that the Russian authorities handed over 10 captured foreigners who fought for Ukraine to Saudi Arabia.