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Saudi Arabia pledges $400m in humanitarian aid to Ukraine 

October 18, 2022 at 2:49 pm

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on July 16, 2022 [Royal Court of Saudi Arabia/Anadolu Agency]

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has pledged $400 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, the official SPA has reported. Bin Salman made his pledge during a phone call last week with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to help his country’s current and post-war humanitarian efforts.

During the phone call, the de facto rule of Saudi Arabia is said to have emphasised the Kingdom’s “support for everything that will contribute to de-escalation, and its readiness to continue the mediation efforts.”

Zelenskyy thanked the prince and the Saudi government for the assistance as well as the prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine. “Spoke to Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Bin Salman,” tweeted the Ukrainian president. “We agreed to interact in the release of prisoners of war. We agreed on the provision of macro-financial aid to Ukraine.”

The Ukrainian leader also thanked the prince for supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity during a recent UN General Assembly discussion on a resolution to condemn Russia’s attempts to annex four regions of Ukraine. The resolution was passed overwhelmingly.

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Riyadh’s pledge to Kyiv comes as its relationship with Washington is under a lot of strain. Pressure is mounting on US President Joe Biden to reassess America’s historical alliance with the Gulf Kingdom following the recent decision by the Saudi-led Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+) to cut oil production.

Biden described Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut oil production as a “hostile act” against America’s energy security. Riyadh rejected Washington’s accusations, stressing that the Kingdom is not “taking sides in any international conflict.” According to Washington, the cuts undermine the West’s plans to impose a cap on the price of Russian oil exports and enable Moscow to circumvent sanctions.

There is speculation that the aid pledge to Kyiv is intended to appease Western outrage over the cut in oil production, which is due to take effect next month.