DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A top Russian official who faces sanctions in the West over Moscow’s war on Ukraine visited Saudi Arabia and held talks with his counterpart in the kingdom early on Tuesday, state media reported.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency said Kolokoltsev met with Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud.
“During the session, they discussed ways to enhance security cooperation paths between the two countries’ ministries of interior, in addition to discussing a number of issues of common interest,” the report said, without elaborating.
Russian media did not immediately report on the visit.
Kolokoltsev, 62, has been sanctioned by the U.S. since 2018 as part of a slew of sanctions over Russia’s activity in both Syria and Ukraine. The U.S. Treasury says that Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom all separately have sanctioned Kolokoltsev as well. The U.S. also refused to grant him a visa to participate in a United Nations chiefs of police summit in 2022, something criticized by Moscow.
Since the war in Ukraine began, oil giant Saudi Arabia has been purchasing Russian diesel fuel at steep discounts, given Western sanctions on Moscow. That diesel has been cheaper for the kingdom to use while it exports its own crude oil products abroad to take advantage of global prices.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the king’s powerful 37-year-old son, also has tried to position the kingdom as a potential negotiator between Kyiv and Moscow to end the war.
“The kingdom is ready to continue mediating between Russia and Ukraine and to support all international efforts to end the crisis politically toward peace,” the prince told the Arab League summit on Friday.
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