Russian interior minister in KSA days after surprise Zelensky visit
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have continued to deepen cooperation with Russia, antagonizing the western world
By News Desk - May 23 2023

(Photo Credit: SPA)

Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev arrived in the Saudi capital Riyadh on 23 May for talks with his counterpart in the kingdom Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

“During the session, they discussed ways to enhance security cooperation paths between the two countries’ ministries of interior, in addition to discussing a number of issues of common interest,” a report by SPA reads.

The meeting was attended by several other interior ministry authorities from the kingdom, as well as Russian Ambassador Sergey Kozlov.

Kolokoltsev’s warm welcome to Riyadh comes despite a slew of sanctions issued against him by the US, Australia, Canada, the EU, Japan, New Zealand, and the UK. In 2022, Washington refused to grant him a visa to participate in a UN chiefs of police summit.

His visit took place just four days after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise visit to the kingdom to attend the 32nd annual Arab League summit and criticize the gathered leaders for remaining neutral in the war against Russia.

The back-to-back visits by the two officials from opposing sides underline how Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states have realigned their interests away from those of the west and worked to improve ties with the Kremlin.

“Our country is looking at dynamically developing markets. We have expanded trade with the world’s rapidly developing economies,” Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said at the Russia-China Business Forum in Shanghai on 23 May.

“We will keep building up ties with friendly countries. This is one of the six key tasks outlined by Russian President Vladimir Putin for this year,” Mishustin concluded.

Over the past year, Riyadh, in particular, has bolstered economic and energy ties with Moscow, angering the west.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) has also pushed to position the kingdom as a potential mediator between Kiev and Moscow to end the war.

“The kingdom is ready to continue mediating between Russia and Ukraine and to support all international efforts to end the crisis politically toward peace,” MbS told the Arab League summit on Friday.

Most Popular