JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Saudi Arabia on Friday to participate in a summit of Arab leaders, including the heads of wealthy Gulf States that have already provided large amounts of aid to Ukraine.
Mr. Zelensky said he landed in Saudi Arabia and will meet with the kingdom’s leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, among others. she wrote on Twitter that his trip was aimed “to improve bilateral relations and relations of Ukraine with the Arab world.”
Saudi Arabia invited Mr. Zelensky to participate in the Arab League summit in the Saudi city of Jeddah. It is also expected that Mr. Zelensky at the Group of 7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, this weekend, virtually or in person, as he tries to win commitments for continued arms and aid from the world’s richest democracies.
The major states of the Arab world walked a fine line between Ukraine and Russia during the war. Oil-rich Saudi Arabia, in particular, has tried to position itself as a mediator and does not want to be seen as taking sides.
Saudi Arabia pledged $400 million in aid to Ukraine earlier this year. The United Arab Emirates, which maintains close ties with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, also pledged more than $100 million in aid for Ukraine.
A significant focus of the United States and the West is trying to stop Russia from seeking new arms supplies. US and NATO officials have blocked Russian domestic manufacturing with sanctions and export controls, and put diplomatic pressure on countries to reject Russian requests for weapons.
Washington appears to be succeeding in this regard in Egypt, another important player in the Arab world.
While US officials are quietly pressuring Cairo to supply artillery shells to Ukraine, US intelligence agencies are gathering information, first reported by The Washington Post, that Egyptian officials may also supply. Russian weapons.
After a diplomatic push by the United States and Britain, the Egyptians appeared to support the Americans. According to a subsequent intelligence report, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt rejected the idea of supplying the Russian part.
US officials say a production contract has been agreed with Egypt’s state-owned arms manufacturers to produce artillery shells for the United States and American contractors, who, in turn , send it to Ukraine.