The U.S. hasn’t sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich because Ukraine’s President Zelensky said he’s acting as a go-between in peace talks with Russia.

Early this month, officials inside the U.S. Treasury Department drafted a set of sanctions to punish Roman Abramovich, a prominent Russian oligarch, following Russia’s attack on Ukraine, say people familiar with the plans.

When it came time to announce those sanctions, which had been designed to go out in tandem with sanctions from the U.K. and European Union, the White House’s National Security Council told the Treasury to hold off. The reason: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky advised President Biden in a recent phone call to wait on sanctioning the oligarch, who might prove important as a go-between with Russia in helping to negotiate peace, according to people with knowledge of the call.

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