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Friday, April 12, 2024

Zelensky shames Arab leaders

The Ukrainian president claims that some of them have been “turning a blind eye” to Moscow’s actions

Some Arab leaders are ignoring Russia’s “illegal” conduct in Ukraine, President Vladimir Zelensky said at the Arab League summit on Friday. He made the statement while attending the gathering in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in person.

Without mentioning anyone by name, Zelensky said that some attendees “have a different view on the war on our land.”

Read more: Zelensky meets with Rishi Sunak

“Unfortunately, there are some in the world and here, among you, who turn a blind eye to [prisoner of war] cages and illegal annexations,” the president said. “I am here so that everyone can take an honest look. No matter how hard the Russians try to influence [others], there must still be independence.” 

Unlike many Western countries, the Arab states have refused to impose sanctions on Moscow over the military operation that it launched in the neighboring state in February 2022. Oil-rich nations of the Persian Gulf worked with Moscow through OPEC+ to enact coordinated production cuts, prompting criticism from Washington, which is seeking to curtail Russia’s oil exports.

Speaking on Friday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that Riyadh sees itself as a potential broker for peace. “We reaffirm the kingdom’s readiness to continue mediating efforts between Russia and Ukraine, and to support all international efforts aimed at resolving the crisis politically in a way that contributes to achieving security,” he said, as cited by Al Jazeera.

Read more: France promises Zelensky weapons after EU honours Ukraine fight ‘for Europe’

Last year, Saudi Arabia and the UAE helped to negotiate a high-profile prisoner exchange between Kiev and Moscow.

Bin Salman spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone last month. During the “friendly and constructive” conversation, the leaders agreed to bolster relations between the two countries, the Kremlin said.