Saudi Arabia has signed a US$400-million-in-aid package to Ukraine, days after the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of the eastern European country.
Ukraine remains locked in a war with Russia and has been appealing for international aid in the fight. Saudi Arabia signed an agreement and memorandum of understanding for the aid package during a surprise visit of its Foreign Minister to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
The US$400-million package includes financing of $300 million worth of oil derivatives as a grant from Saudi Arabia through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) in favour of Ukraine, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The remaining US$100 million will be humanitarian assistance to Ukraine from Saudi Arabia.
“The Minister of Foreign Affairs renewed the Kingdom’s keenness and support for all international efforts to resolve the Ukrainian-Russian crisis politically,” the Saudi agency reported. Saudi Arabia, which leads the OPEC+ oil production alliance with Russia, sent its foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah to Kyiv last weekend for talks with top Ukrainian officials including President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
The visit was the first from such a high-ranking Saudi official to Ukraine in 30 years. Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak commented: “As part of the visit, two documents were signed in the President’s Office formalizing the providing of a $400-million aid package to Ukraine. Grateful to Prince @FaisalbinFarhan for constructive dialogue and mutual understanding.”
The two countries agreed to deepen cooperation in the investment and energy sectors, Yermak said during a news conference – as carried by Ukrainian news outlet Ukrinform. Saudi Arabia has refrained from publicly criticising Russia for the invasion of Ukraine since the start of the war a year ago. The Kingdom, as the de facto leader and the largest oil producer of OPEC, is leading the OPEC+ group whose key non-OPEC member is Russia. Last week, Saudi Arabia was one of 141 countries that voted in favour of a non-binding United Nations General Assembly resolution calling on Russia to end hostilities and withdraw its forces from Ukraine.