RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — Ten prisoners of war from countries including the US and the UK have been transferred to Saudi Arabia as part of an exchange between Russia and Ukraine, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
The statement said the prisoners, who also hail from Sweden, Morocco and Croatia, arrived in Saudi Arabia from Russia and the Saudi authorities are “facilitating procedures for their safe return to their countries.”
The move comes after the efforts of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, “in continuation of (his) commitment to humanitarian initiatives regarding the Russian-Ukrainian crisis,” the report said.
The war in Ukraine has heightened tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States, an important ally for decades.
Saudi Arabia voted in favor of an early UN resolution condemning the Russian invasion and demanding that Moscow withdraw its troops.
However, the kingdom has largely resisted pressure from the US to ramp up oil production to ease the energy crisis stemming from the war — a campaign that included a visit by US President Joe Biden in July.
Instead, Riyadh coordinated with the OPEC+ oil cartel, which it co-leads with Russia.
Earlier this month, the bloc agreed to cut crude oil production for the first time in more than a year, seeking to raise prices that had fallen on recession fears.
Wednesday’s statement did not specify when the POWs would be transferred to their countries.