Saudi Arabia will provide $400 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
According to The New Voice of Ukraine, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledged assurance of aid after speaking with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday.
Saudi state news agency SPA says bin Salman communicated the kingdom's willingness to support everything that will contribute to "de-escalation."
On Twitter, Zelenskyy shared that during his talk with the Saudi Crown Prince, the two were able to mediate the release of Ukrainian prisoners of war.
Last month, Saudi Arabia played an unexpected and key role in fostering a prisoner-of-war swap between Moscow and Kyiv.
"Spoke to Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman. Thanked for supporting Ukraine's territorial integrity, resolution at the UN General Assembly. We agreed to interact in the release of prisoners of war. We agreed on the provision of macro-financial aid to Ukraine," Zelenskyy tweeted.
The aid announcement comes as the Biden administration has expressed anger at Riyadh for backing an OPEC oil production cut of 2 million barrels of oil a day.
The Biden administration says the OPEC cut will keep oil prices high, a boon to energy producer Russia as it continues its war against Ukraine.
But Democrats believe the OPEC cut keeps gasoline prices and inflation high though November’s election as they fight to keep control of the House and Senate.
Gasoline prices had fallen to a recent low of 3.77 a gallon before the OPEC announcement and have already spiked to over $4, according to YCharts.com.
Democrats in Congress are furious by the Saudi move and are said to be pressing for a ban of additional U.S. arms sales to the Saudis.
But the new Saudi humanitarian aid package to Ukraine is intended to be a signal that Riyadh is not taking Putin’s side in the regional war.
Instead, bin Salman is said to be dumbfounded by Biden administration efforts to press Iran for a new nuclear deal despite Tehran’s funding of extremism throughout the Middle East.
“Riyadh's Achilles heel is security,” a Reuters’ analysis explains. “It says it faces a threat from Iran and its proxies, especially after 2019 attacks that temporarily hit Saudi oil output and shook energy markets. Riyadh blamed Tehran, which denied responsibility.”
Without strong opposition to Iran from the United States, bin Salman sees himself as the guardian of the region’s security.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.