Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) invested hundreds of millions of US dollars into Russian energy giants Gazprom, Rosneft, and Lukoil at the onset of Moscow’s military invasion of Ukraine.
The information was disclosed on 14 August in a filing made by the Riyadh-based investment firm, which is by a member of the Saudi royal family, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.
Just two months after KHC finalized their investment deal with Moscow, the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund acquired a 16.8 percent stake in the company.
The deal came at a time when most of the west started a powerful sanctions campaign against the Kremlin, with the White House demanding the same from its Gulf allies.
But the war in Ukraine has proven to be a major breaking point in the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia, with the kingdom moving ever-closer to Russia, as the two lead OPEC+, an alliance formed between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allied producers.
In order to protect this close alliance, Riyadh has on several occasions refused Washington’s diktats to boost oil production levels, despite the west’s spiraling energy crisis.
The rupture between the historical allies began once Joe Biden, ahead of his presidential election, promised to make the kingdom a “pariah” and hold Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) “accountable” for his role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Even after Biden backpedaled from his campaign promise and met with MbS in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom continued to tighten its bonds with Russia.
Nonetheless, the White House is still making moves to get in Riyadh’s good graces, approving a multi-billion dollar weapons deal with both Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The US is also in discussions to lift a ban on the sale of “offensive weapons” to Riyadh, despite Biden’s claims of supporting an end of the war in Yemen.