Ukraine’s president begins visit to Saudi Arabia, aims to enhance ties with Arab world


Kyiv (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced Friday he had begun a visit to Saudi Arabia, where he said he will address a summit of Arab leaders.

Zelenskyy said in a tweet that his aim is to “enhance bilateral relations and Ukraine’s ties with the Arab world.”

He said he will meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and hold other bilateral talks.

Among other topics he mentioned were Russia’s annexation of Crimea, a peace “formula” for the war that began after Moscow’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, and energy cooperation.

Zelenskyy said he will present his 10-point peace formula as he seeks to engage as many countries as possible.

“Another priority is the protection of the Muslim community of Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said. “Crimea was the first to suffer from the Russian occupation, and most of those who suffer repression in occupied Crimea are Muslims”.

Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev accompanied Zelenskyy on the visit.

Zelenskyy will later travel to a Group of Seven summit in Japan where leaders of the world’s most powerful democracies aim to step up punishment on Russia for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, according to Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council.

He earlier this week returned from a three-day trip to Italy, the Vatican, Germany, France and the U.K. where he sought to ensure more weapons supplies.

He has also visited Washington since the war began, but he hasn’t traveled so far east.

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