“Some turn a blind eye”
Selenskyj accuses Gulf states of lack of support
05/19/2023, 4:29 p.m
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy made a surprise trip to an Arab League summit. There he criticizes the lack of support for his war-torn country. The Arab world must help protect its people.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused some leaders in the Arab world of his country’s lack of support against the Russian invaders. “Unfortunately, some in the world and here in your circle are turning a blind eye,” Zelenskyy said in Saudi Arabia at the Arab League summit. This applies to Ukrainians in Russian prisons and “illegal annexations”. Some participants at the Arab summit “have a different view of the war in our country and call it a conflict,” said Zelenskyy.
Zelenskyj spoke as a guest of honor at the annual summit of the league and its 22 members and made a surprise trip to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. The Arab world must help protect the Ukrainian people, including the Muslim community living there, Zelenskyy said. “I’m here so everyone can have an honest look – no matter how much the Russians try to influence.” The Ukrainians would never have chosen this war. “We are pushing the occupiers out of our areas,” said Zelenskyj.
Gulf States tend to maintain good relations with Russia
According to diplomatic circles, Saudi King Salman had invited Selenskyj as a guest of honor to the League’s annual summit. The Gulf States mostly maintain good relations with Russia and strive for neutrality in the Ukraine war. Syria, which was reinstated into the Arab League after more than a decade and for which President Bashar al-Assad participated, is closely allied with Russia. Syria was also one of just five countries in March 2022 to vote against a resolution at the UN General Assembly condemning Russia’s invasion and calling for a troop withdrawal.
The Russian war of aggression has put the Gulf States in an awkward position. They are under pressure to choose between their historic partnership with the US and their growing economic and political ties to Russia, wrote Middle East Institute (MEI) expert Gerald Feierstein shortly after the war broke out last year. “While Europe burns, the Gulf States hide under the table.”