Ukraine's Zelenskiy makes surprise visit to Saudi Arabia

No details on his itinerary were immediately available

AFP June 12, 2024
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shakes hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, ahead of the Arab League summit, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, May 19, 2023. PHOTO: Reuters


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky travelled to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, Saudi state media reported, his latest visit to the Gulf kingdom which has sought to stay neutral in Ukraine’s war with Russia.

Zelensky landed in the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah for the unannounced trip and was greeted by Saudi officials including the national security adviser and ambassador to Kyiv, the official Saudi Press Agency said. No details on his itinerary were immediately available.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, works closely with Moscow on oil policy and has touted its ties to both Moscow and Kyiv since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, positioning itself as a possible mediator in the war.

In August last year, Saudi Arabia hosted talks on the war that drew representatives of more than 40 countries, excluding Russia.

Zelensky attended an Arab League summit in May 2023 in Jeddah where he accused some leaders of turning “a blind eye” to the horrors of Russia’s invasion.

Zelensky most recently visited Saudi Arabia in February, when he held talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler, to promote his peace plan and discuss potential prisoners of war exchanges.

Saudi Arabia has not confirmed if it will take part in a peace summit on Ukraine in Switzerland at the weekend, diplomats in the Gulf region told AFP last week.


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