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Ukrainian envoy praises Saudi Arabia’s ongoing aid efforts

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26 Feb 2024 01:02:56 GMT9
26 Feb 2024 01:02:56 GMT9

Lama Alhamawi

RIYADH: Ambassador of Ukraine to Saudi Arabia Anatolii Petrenko extended his gratitude to the Kingdom for providing “vital” humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine as the Russia-Ukraine conflict entered its third year.

“The help of the Saudi people has been absolutely vital … and I reiterate it on every occasion to deliver a message of gratitude to King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and all Saudi people for their generosity and kindness being extended to the Ukrainian people these difficult days,” Petrenko told Arab News.

On Feb. 15, the Saudi aid agency KSrelief initiated a humanitarian mission to deliver essential aid to the people of Ukraine, with flights operating from King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh to Rzeszow Airport, located near the Poland-Ukraine border.

“We have the next plane tomorrow and this is going to be tremendously important for people who are displaced in central and southern regions of Ukraine,” the ambassador said.

On Friday, KSrelief’s ninth cargo plane departed from King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, carrying 80 tons of relief materials, including generators and baby food canisters.

“This is an impressive logistical operation — 18 planes with so many appliances, generators, baby foodstuff, all currently being delivered to Ukraine literally as we speak,” Petrenko said.

“For us, this is a matter of principle that Saudi Arabia always supports Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty in accordance with international law, in accordance with key principles of the UN charter, and at the same time the Kingdom provides vital humanitarian assistance.”

Ambassador of Ukraine to Saudi Arabia Anatolii Petrenko   hosts an exhibition to showcase the resilience of the Ukrainian people in defending their lands. (Supplied)

The ambassador emphasized that the two countries continue to uphold their economic cooperation, adding that Ukrainian companies are entering Saudi markets, and Saudi companies are still operating successfully in Ukraine.

“This is impressive, and we join our efforts in moving forward with a peace formula, which is the plan to reestablish lost peace in Ukraine,” he explained.

On Sunday, the Ukrainian Embassy hosted an exhibition to showcase the resilience and determination of the Ukrainian people in defending their lands.

“On Feb. 24, two years ago, everyone in Ukraine was shocked; no one could believe it happened, but immediately, every Ukrainian realized that we had to stand up and fight otherwise we would vanish as a nation,” the envoy said.

“Our exhibition here is to showcase how we fight, how we are supported by our friends and the international community, and how we gradually build our domestic defense industry,” Petrenko added.

The ambassador delivered a speech at the exhibition along with the Ukrainian Defense Attache Col. Roman Muzychenko.

“Saudi Arabia, our host nation, consistently supports Ukraine in accordance with the key principles of the UN charter,” the ambassador highlighted during his speech.

“This exhibition is to show the resilience of the Ukrainian people and (our) determination to protect our own lands, to secure a future for Ukrainian generations, and to defend our choice of life and foreign policy,” he added.

The ambassador explained that the exhibition showcases the support Ukrainians are receiving, how they are fighting, and how they are developing their capacities. It highlights that “Ukrainians will not compromise on their national security interests in any way,” he added.

Petrenko concluded the interview with Arab News with a final message, stating: “Ukraine wants peace, but that peace must be just and lasting and in accordance with international law and every Ukrainian is more than focused and more than determined to continue to defend the country … remembering that this is our future and this is in our hands.”

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