Erdogan says oligarch Abramovich was part of Russian delegation at Istanbul talks -media

FILE PHOTO: Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich listens as Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (not seen) addresses Russian and Ukrainian negotiators before their face-to-face talks in Istanbul
FILE PHOTO: Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich listens as Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (not seen) addresses Russian and Ukrainian negotiators before their face-to-face talks in Istanbul, Turkey March 29, 2022 in this screen grab taken from a video. Turkish Presidency via Reuters TV/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

March 31, 2022

ANKARA (Reuters) – Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who is sanctioned by European nations over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, was part of Russia’s delegation at peace negotiations in Istanbul this week, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was cited as saying on Thursday.

Abramovich made a surprise appearance at Tuesday’s talks in Istanbul, the first in-person meeting between the sides in more than two weeks. However a presidential feed at the time showed him sat among observers rather than at the main table with the two negotiating teams.

“Abramovich participated in the negotiations as part of the Russian delegation. Rather than looking at who was at the table, we should look at on whose behalf they were there,” Erdogan said.

“If Russia and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin preferred to put Abramovich in their delegation, that means they believe and trust in him,” broadcaster NTV quoted him as telling reporters on a flight returning from Uzbekistan.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Daren Butler)