Analysis: Saudi prince’s Ukraine mediation signals ‘useful’ Russia ties – analysts –

RIYADH, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has won a diplomatic victory by securing freedom for foreign fighters taken in Ukraine, signalling the need for the crown prince’s alliance with Russia to Western partners trying to isolate Moscow within the war there, analysts say.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman might also discover that the initiative — intentionally or else — helps take him one step nearer worldwide rehabilitation following the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi broken his status, they are saying.

With Prince Mohammed’s mediation, Russia on Wednesday released 10 people from other countries it’d taken in Ukraine, including five Britons and 2 Americans.

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The move, apparently thanks to Prince Mohammed’s carefully nurtured ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, coincided having a prisoner exchange involving 215 Ukrainians and 55 Russians and pro-Moscow Ukrainians that Poultry helped broker.

Kristian Ulrichsen, a political researcher at Grain University’s Baker Institute within the U . s . States, stated the significant relationship between Saudi Arabia and Russia seems to possess been an important aspect in the option of intermediary.

“By sanctioning this mediation and providing outcomes, Mohammed bin Salman has the capacity to present themself as able to play the function of regional statesman in a manner that counters the narrative from the crown prince being an impulsive and disruptive actor,” Ulrichsen stated.

Prince Mohammed’s initial image like a bold reformer was battered through the 2018 murder of Khashoggi, a Washington Publish columnist, as a result of Saudi agents viewed as near to MbS.

He denies ordering Khashoggi’s killing while saying he ultimately bore responsibility because it happened under his watch.


In remarks towards the BBC, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan stated the motivation behind Saudi Arabia’s participation within the prisoner release was humanitarian. He denied the Crown Prince became involved to rehabilitate his status.

“That did not factor in it. I believe this is a very cynical view,” he stated. He added that around the conflict itself, the dominion desired to visit a negotiated solution and Riyadh was dedicated to attempting to help secure that outcome.

Prince Faisal stated the crown prince had engaged with Putin to sort out a prisoner deal since April, as he “understood” the publication of the five British citizens following a vacation to the kingdom at that time British Pm Boris Manley.

“His Royal Highness could convince President Putin that this can be a humanitarian gesture that’s useful, which is the way we achieved this result,” Prince Faisal told Fox News.

The freed prisoners, who also incorporated a Croatian, a Moroccan, along with a Swedish national, were traveled to Riyadh on the Saudi plane where officials arranged to greet them.

U.S. citizens Alexander Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, both from Alabama, are anticipated to depart Saudi Arabia within days, officials stated.

The significance of the dominion, the earth’s largest oil exporter, to both Washington and Moscow is continuing to grow at any given time when Russia’s war in Ukraine is roiling global energy markets.

World leaders have beat a way to Riyadh to inquire about more oil production. But Saudi Arabia has proven little readiness to participate your time and effort to isolate Russia. It’s walked up its cooperation with Putin, including inside the OPEC+ oil producers group.


A trip in This summer by U.S. President joe biden unsuccessful to secure commitments in the Saudis to have an immediate oil output rise or perhaps a harsher stance against Putin, highlighting the tensions weighing around the relationship between Washington and Riyadh.

Ali Shihabi, a professional-government commentator, stated the Saudi mediation within the prisoners’ release “would be a first”.

“I believe the dominion was messaging free airline that it is ties to Russia may also serve a helpful purpose on their behalf,” stated Shihabi.

“You’ll need some countries to keep ties to each side.”

A Western diplomat stated the prisoners’ deal have been several weeks within the making, but the majority of the diplomatic community within the Gulf learned about it just in the final stage.

U.S. National Security Advisor Mike Sullivan, Secretary of Condition Antony Blinken and British Pm Liz Truss thanked the Saudi crown prince for his role.

Kristin Diwan, senior resident scholar in the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, stated it had been unusual for Saudi Arabia to deploy the process of diplomatic brokerage — something well-established for smaller sized Gulf states for example Qatar to leverage their ties.

“It’s like alchemy – he (Prince Mohammed) is popping his much-belittled ties with Russia into gold,” Diwan stated.

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Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi, Editing by William Maclean

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