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Ukraine Plans August Peace Talks in Saudi Arabia - Minus Moscow

By Jake Beardslee · July 30, 2023

In brief…

  • Ukraine plans to hold a peace summit in early August in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
  • Allies, including the U.S., along with several neutral nations will attend. Russia will not attend.
  • Saudi Arabia has condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine but also cut oil production, wh9ch helped Russia while angering the US.
  • The summit could help patch up Saudi-US relations.
  • Ukraine sees the confab as a way to push for peace on its terms without Russia present.
Ukraine plans to hold a high-profile peace summit in Saudi Arabia in early August, attended by its allies and neutral nations - but excluding Russia.  B.alotaby/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

A peace summit organized by Ukraine will take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, possibly as early as the first week of August. The summit will be attended by Ukraine’s allies, including a representative from the United States, along with nations such as Brazil, India and South Africa that have remained neutral during the war in Ukraine. Russia will be noticeably absent.

Speaking at the Russia-Africa Summit on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that he did not rule out negotiations, but said, “We can’t hold fire when they attack us or start peace negotiations. We never rejected them. You know, I’ve always said we’ve never rejected the peace talks.”

The meeting comes after a similar gathering in Denmark in June and a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Saudi Arabia in May, when he attended the Arab League summit. Saudi and Ukrainian officials are remaining tight lipped on the details of their arrangement.

Riyadh has walked a fine line regarding the Russia-Ukraine war. Unlike many states in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, it publicly condemned Russia’s invasion and annexation, but it also chose to cut oil production last year, a move that benefited Russia’s sanctioned economy and angered Washington.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a press briefing, “The president has been very clear that the United States needs a different sort of relationship with Saudi Arabia. And I have said this last week when OPEC made the decision to align their energy policy with Russia’s war aims and against the American people.”

By hosting a summit designed to benefit Washington’s besieged ally, Ukraine, Riyadh could be looking to patch up relations with the US. Hosting such an event also brings prestige to the country and its crown prince.

Approximately 30 nations are expected to attend the peace summit.