Saudi Arabia is preparing to host seven sanctioned Russian companies next week, including a manufacturer of military helicopters deployed in the war in Ukraine, as part of a trade mission to increase business with the Gulf state.
According to sources familiar with the matter, the companies, including weapons manufacturers with direct links to the Russian military, state corporations involved in the invasion of Ukraine, and the agency overseeing a Ukrainian nuclear plant in the country seized by the Russian military last year, are set to attend.
Saudi Arabia’s willingness to develop business ties with Russian companies sanctioned by western states for their role in the invasion of Ukraine and war crimes in Syria and Libya confirms that the Saudi regime doesn’t respect international laws and resolutions.
The reports are likely to cause further tensions in its already strained relationship with Washington following Jamal Khashuggi’s murder and crackdown on human rights advocates, including US nationals.
Biden has earlier pledged to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” state over the Kingdom’s poor human rights record and vowed to prevent any military or logistical cooperation. However, Biden has made human rights a “pariah” file and made many concessions in favor of improving relations with MBS’s regime.
However, the Saudi regime proves that it deserves nothing but being a “pariah” after committing more brutal crimes against humanity.
The listed companies include Russian Helicopters, the manufacturer of the Ka-52 Alligator helicopter. At least 35 Ka-52s have been shot down by Ukrainian forces or abandoned by Russia.
Kamaz, an armoured vehicle manufacturer sanctioned for its role in aiding Russia’s war effort, is also listed as attending.
Its trucks were spotted in Belarus in March 2022 carrying Iskander missiles that were allegedly launched in the early days of the invasion, and its Typhoon vehicles have also been reported transporting Russian soldiers across Ukrainian territory.
Perhaps the most significant participant in the meetings with the Saudis is Rostec, a Russian state-owned defence systems and technology corporation that has supplied weapons used during the invasion of Ukraine. These included the Solntsepyok heavy flamethrower systems, the Zemledeliye remote mine-laying vehicles and various launch rocket systems.
The Saudi regime openly states that it is willing to work with a war criminal who has carried out the world’s most heinous massacres against humanity, killing hundreds of thousands of defenseless civilians. Can the Biden administration now resume keeping its word and take a clear stance on this issue?