Ukrainian Organizations Call on Sunak to Release £2.5bn from Abramovich’s Chelsea Sale

credit: theguardian

London (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Ukrainian groups urge Rishi Sunak to release £2.5bn from Abramovich’s Chelsea sale, highlighting the significance amid ongoing conflict concerns.

A coalition of Ukrainian human rights bodies has written to Rishi Sunak, asking him to “end the impasse” over utilizing funds from the deal of Chelsea to help sufferers of war in the country.

Nearly two years after Roman Abramovich had sanctions inflicted by the United Kingdom, the £2.5bn developed from Chelsea’s sale stays frozen in a UK bank account despite a pledge to use the profits for humanitarian purposes. Last month the European Affairs Committee of the House of Lords stated it was “incomprehensible” that the money was intact.

On Thursday 58 organizations, including the Ukrainian human rights coalition Ukraine 5 am, inscribed a note from the NGO Redress calling on Sunak to act. “We the undersigned, including victims and survivors of the war in Ukraine, call on you to act to resolve the two-year impasse over the proceeds of the £2.5bn sale of Chelsea FC,” the letter begins, arguing funds should be directed “towards the urgent needs of victims and survivors, ensuring that some of the funds are repurposed as reparation for survivors”.

The government has disclosed that it has a “disagreement” with Abramovich over how the funds should be utilized, with the government demanding the money should be spent only within Ukraine’s perimeters, while Abramovich argues the original terms of the license under which the sale of Chelsea was permitted to go through did not make that specification, rather allowing money to be disbursed on “exclusively humanitarian aims supporting all victims of the conflict in Ukraine, and its effects”.

The letter demands Sunak to go beyond this impasse and find other instruments to unlock the money. “Considering there are substantial funds in question, your government should consider different avenues to repurpose the funds which may be complementary and maximize impact,” it says. “We call for the Chelsea FC sale proceeds to be split between humanitarian purposes, reconstruction, and reparations for victims of human rights abuses. £2.5bn has the power to transform the lives of many victims of the conflict, allowing them to move forward with their lives.”

The letter requests Sunak to function with the Ukrainian government and civil society to “guide in the repurposing of the funds” and “designate a working group between your government, civil society, and survivors to secure the funds are distributed in an effective and timely manner”. It also urges the government should consider directing some of the budgets through existing mechanisms, such as the register of deterioration in Ukraine, rather than through a suggested charitable foundation yet to be properly established.

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The Ukraine 5 am coalition is a gathering of organizations dedicated to chronicling war crimes perpetrated by Russian forces in the country since the aggression of 2022. Other signatories to the letter comprise the Global Survivors Fund, the Coalition for Genocide Response, and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute as well as the prominent human rights barrister Helena Kennedy.

Daniele Naddei

Daniele Naddei is a journalist at Parliament News covering European affairs, was born in Naples on April 8, 1991. He also serves as the Director of the CentroSud24 newspaper. During the period from 2010 to 2013, Naddei completed an internship at the esteemed local radio station Radio Club 91. Subsequently, he became the author of a weekly magazine published by the Italian Volleyball Federation of Campania (FIPAV Campania), which led to his registration in the professional order of Journalists of Campania in early 2014, listed under publicists. From 2013 to 2018, he worked as a freelance photojournalist and cameraman for external services for Rai and various local entities, including TeleCapri, CapriEvent, and TLA. Additionally, between 2014 and 2017, Naddei collaborated full-time with various newspapers in Campania, both in print and online. During this period, he also resumed his role as Editor-in-Chief at Radio Club 91.
Naddei is actively involved as a press officer for several companies and is responsible for editing cultural and social events in the city through his association with the Medea Fattoria Sociale. This experience continued until 2021. Throughout these years, he hosted or collaborated on football sports programs for various local broadcasters, including TLA, TvLuna, TeleCapri, Radio Stonata, Radio Amore, and Radio Antenna Uno.
From 2016 to 2018, Naddei was employed as an editor at newspapers of national interest within the circuit, including Internazionale24, Salute24, and OggiScuola. Since 2019, Naddei has been one of the creators of the Rabona television program "Calcio è Passione," which has been broadcast on TeleCapri Sport since 2023.