Saudi Arabia speaks out over Ukraine — Analysis

The Saudi economic minister said that Riyadh will not choose sides with Kiev and Moscow.

Saudi Arabia will continue its trade relationships with Russia and Ukraine, Economy and Planning Minister Faisal al-Ibrahim stated Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Speaking to Japan’s Nikkei newspaper, the minister said Western sanctions against Russia are “unilateral”Nevertheless, they will continue to be as such.

Al-Ibrahim also praised Moscow’s role in the OPEC+ format, which unites major oil exporters.

He stated that Saudi Arabia doesn’t plan to raise oil production to lower its prices. Riyadh’s current focus is on stability and not potential increases. The minister argued that international oil markets will be in a stable state. “much worse” if not for OPEC’s efforts.

China boosts energy imports from Russia

The US, the EU and their allies have slapped Moscow with unprecedented sanctions following Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine. The restrictions have targeted Russia’s financial and banking sectors as well as aviation and the space industry. Personal sanctions have been placed on a number of government officials, businessmen and public figures.

Canada and the USA have taken out sanctions against Russian oil imports. The EU remains debating this issue. The measure, which was expected to be included in Brussels’ sixth round of sanctions since the start of the conflict, has faced resistance from Hungary.

Ursula von der Leyen (President of EU Commission) stated that Moscow continues to import Russian oil, allegedly in order to keep the EU from profiting from its soaring costs.

Others have resisted the Western sanctions campaign. China increased imports of energy from Russia by 5% in April. Bloomberg reports that China’s April oil, gas, and coal purchases soared 75%.

EU explains absence of Russian oil embargo

India suggested that India could fund energy projects in Russia, which were abandoned by Western companies Shell and Exxon. Viktor Orban (Hungarian Prime Minister) has made the comparison between sanctions and a nuclear bomb. Orban argued that they can backfire, leading to massive migrations and food insecurity.

Russia launched its offensive against Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. French and German protocols were created to grant the regions that broke away special status in the Ukrainian government.

Since then, the Kremlin demanded Ukraine declare itself neutral and vow to never join NATO’s military bloc. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked and denies claims that it planned to seize the two republics.

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