Mekki Elmograbi, a Sudanese journalist, commentator on international affairs, and former consultant at the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., takes a closer look at how Ukraine is developing new ties in the Middle East, and in particular with Saudi Arabia.
“This month, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky (picture) took the unusual step of doing an interview with the prominent Saudi media outlet “Arab News” in a televised portion for the show “Frankly News”. During his talk, Zelensky went out of his way to praise Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman’s (see picture) role in a recent prisoner swap. Negotiations involving Ukrainian intelligence services and Saudi Arabian officials resulted in some 300 prisoners of war being freed.
That number included ten international members of Ukraine’s so-called “Foreign Legion” from countries as far afield as Morocco, Croatia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. It also included two Americans.
“Given the ties that the crown prince has with Russia, probably it was, you know, a good chance of success, and I’m very much thankful to him for this brilliant result,” Zelensky reacted. Zelensky went on to insist he was open to similar proposals in the future.”
Ukraine war: Crown prince crucial in Ukraine prisoner deal, Saudis say https://t.co/If8Iyjcoub
— Nahid Alaei (@NahidAlaei) September 23, 2022
He stresses how also the U.A.E. are strengthening the relationship:
“Also the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, will travel to Russia this month in an apparent bid at diplomacy aimed at ending the conflict. There is no guarantee it will be as successful as Saudi Arabia’s mission, but, it does speak to a growing interest in the conflict in the Arab world.”
Thereby, he concludes:
“Sure, the Gulf States and Russia have a special relationship due to oil – but that is all that relationship is based on. What Zelenensky is pushing for is a larger and deeper relationship with Saudi Arabia and other countries.”
Picture: Mohammed bin Salman (Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia). Copyright: By Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=104321754