Saudi Arabia has agreed to provide Ukraine with $400 million in aid, surprising many with its assistance to the embattled country a year into Russia’s invasion and the Kingdom’s neutral stance throughout.
According to the Head of Ukraine’s Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, yesterday visited the capital, Kyiv, and met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “This is the first official visit of the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia to Ukraine since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries (on April 14, 1993)”, Yermak stated on his Telegram channel.
He added that the two sides struck “a joint program of cooperation with the Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre of King Salman and a Memorandum of Understanding with the Saudi Development Fund.” That reportedly consists of a $400 million aid package – $100 million in humanitarian aid and $300 million in oil products.
“Ukraine and Saudi Arabia have common challenges and experience in dealing with them. We are talking about Iranian UAVs that were supplied to certain ‘rebels’ and carried out attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia,” he highlighted, referring to Iran’s supply of combat drones to Houthi rebels in Yemen who are fighting against Riyadh, and which have now been supplied to Russian forces over the past year.
“Since last year, these same Iranian UAVs ended up in the possession of Russian terrorists and are carrying out attacks on the Ukrainian energy infrastructure. Therefore, we also have common experience in fighting terrorists,” Yermak said.
Since the visit and agreement was announced, many have speculated on the idea that Saudi Arabia may now be tipping its neutral balance in the ongoing war in favour of Ukraine, as most Western nations have done, and have pressured Riyadh to do. The Kingdom’s assistance, however, is still limited to aid and does not include the provision of arms or military funds.