Roman Abramovich is reportedly acting as a ‘peacemaker’ in the Russian war in Ukraine as he avoids Western sanctions in Turkey.
The Chelsea FC owner is said to have been jetting between Istanbul, Moscow, and Kyiv to relay messages between Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky. But when handed a note from the Ukrainian president outlining peace terms, the Russian despot reportedly erupted with fury, according to Daily Mail.
Abramovich has been trying to rescue his reputation after being slapped with sanctions by the UK and EU over his closeness to Putin.
His assets have been frozen across Britain and the Continent and he started a fire sale of London property as well as Chelsea football club. But his yachts and jets, which are worth hundreds of millions of pounds, remain out of bounds as they dodge sanctioned waters and airspace.
Meanwhile, Zelensky reportedly pleaded with President Joe Biden for the US to hold off bringing measures against the oligarch due to his role in negotiations.
Abramovich left Ataturk airport in Istanbul on a private Hawker 800XP jet last Wednesday, heaving across the Black Sea towards Sochi.
The oligarch had flown in to meet Putin and hand him a handwritten note by Zelensky outlining Ukraine’s peace terms position.
According to the Times, the Russian president said to the oligarch: ‘Tell him I will thrash them.’
He returned to Istanbul and linked up with Ukrainian politician Rustem Umerov, who is said to be acting as Kyiv’s negotiator.
They met at five-star hotels in the Turkish capital, having been set up by President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin. And they appear to be making progress with future face-to-face talks set to continue this week.
Kalin told the newspaper Hurriyet last weekend they were ‘close to agreement’ on key issues on Nato, demilitarisation, and protected status for the Russian language. But there are still differences over the future of Crimea – which Russia annexed in 2014 – and Donbas, which has mostly been occupied during the current conflict.
Kalin floated the idea that Crimea and Donbas be held by Moscow under a long-term lease like Britain had over Hong Kong from 1898 to 1997.
Putin is believed to be considering the idea but his fury at his military’s failures and hatred of Zelensky are said to be holding him back.
Abramovich and Umerov have visited the Ukrainian President in war-torn Kyiv after travelling on private jets routed through Warsaw, Poland.
The businessman has been flying on one owned by a Turkish firm due to his being under EU sanctions.
He is one of at least 20 oligarchs in Turkey as they toe the line between Putin and Western restrictions.
Johnny Depp hit me on our honeymoon
In continuation of the $50m defamation lawsuit, Actress, Amber Heard has claimed she feared her ex-husband Johnny Depp would accidentally kill her during an alleged assault during their honeymoon.
Testifying in the defamation case Depp brought against her, Ms Heard, 36, painted a picture Depp as an abuser addicted to drugs and plagued with jealousy and self-harm.
Depp is suing Ms Heard for $50m (£40m) over an article in which she claimed she was the victim of domestic violence .
The piece did not name Depp but his attorneys, however, have said that the article “incalculably” damaged his reputation and career. She has countersued him for $100m.
The case being tried in Virginia has resumed for a fifth week, and in previous court hearings Depp had told his side of the story while Heard had begun some of her testimony.
In court on Monday, May 16, Heard tearfully told jurors that she believed she’d likely “not survive” if she had remained married to Mr Depp, 58.
“I was so scared that it was going to end really badly for me,” she said. “I really didn’t want to leave him. I loved him so much.”
She alleged that he attacked her while aboard the Orient Express train in Asia after their February 2015 wedding, claiming that he struck her and held her by the neck while in their sleeper compartment.
“He was squeezing my neck against the railway car for what felt like a very long time,” she said.
She said she recalled thinking he could “kill me”.
“I remember being scared that he wouldn’t mean to do it,” she said.
In another instance, Ms Heard described a “week of hell” after Depp allegedly became jealous because she was offered a role with James Franco. She claimed he punched her and threw her into furniture.
While Ms Heard said that the marriage was “at times, very loving”, it deteriorated over time to a point in which tension and violence became “almost normal”. They divorced in 2017, after two years.
She also claimed that Depp would frequently self-harm during their arguments.
“In fights he often would cut his arms or hold his knife to his chest or draw blood, superficially at first,” she said. “He also put cigarettes out on himself.”
Attorney Camille Vasquez, Depp’s lawyer questioned the witness over her prior testimony, questioning why there were so few photos and medical records to back up claims of physical injuries from her alleged beatings.
Heard countered that she didn’t take photos or videos of the beating because she was embarrassed to be a victim of abuse and “other than my therapist”, she relied on makeup to cover bruises and ice to reduce swelling.
In a heated back-and forth, Ms Vasquez forced Ms Heard to acknowledge that she had “pledged” to donate the entirety of her $7m divorce settlement with Depp to charity but was yet to make any donation.
She also noted that her client had not once looked Ms Heard in the eye over the course of the trial. “He can’t,” Ms Heard responded.
In his own testimony earlier in the trial, Mr Depp said that he never struck Ms Heard and told jurors that she had a “need” for conflict and violence.
On Monday, jurors heard a number of audio clips of the former couple arguing. In one clip which Heard can be heard saying she hit Mr Depp.
“I was hitting you. I was not punching you,” she can be heard saying. “You’re not punched.”
According to Ms Heard, she sometimes “reactively” hit Mr Depp and claimed that she was referring to the “disparity” of their strength.
Many feared dead as explosion rocks Kano
Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress
At least three residents of Kano were killed while many are currently trapped in an explosion which rocked Sabongari area of the state.
Details of the incident are still sketchy, but it was gathered that an explosive device went off in the early hours of the day.
It is being reported that a suicide bomber struck in the area.
Officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) are currently at the scene.
Court remands three suspects for stealing transformer cables in Osun monarch’s palace
An Osun State Magistrate court sitting in Ilesa, on Monday remanded three suspected thieves in police custody for stealing transformer cables valued at N700,000 in Owa Obokun of Ijeshaland, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran’s palace.
The suspects, Owolabi Abimbola,33, Sulaiman Mutiu,25, Samson Oluwafemi,25, and others now at large are facing four-count charges on the committed offence.
According to the Police Prosecutor, Inspector Adigun Kehinde, the stolen transformer cables were the property of IBEDC Ilesa branch.
He told the court that the defendants on May 11, 2022, conspired, stole and diverted to their own personal use a transformer cable at the Owa Obokun Palace.
Adigun argued that the offence committed by the defendants was contrary to sections 516, 400, 451(6), 383(2) of the Criminal Code Cap 34 Vol ll Law of Osun State 2002, which saw the suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them.
In his ruling, the presiding Magistrate, A.O Awodele fixed further hearing on the case till May 18th and ordered that the defendants should be kept in Police custody.