Zelensky at Arab League summit: Ukrainian president accuses countries of 'turning blind eye' to invasion

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky accused some Arab countries of "turning a bling eye" to the war in his country while visiting the Arab League summit. (Credit: Getty Images)Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky accused some Arab countries of "turning a bling eye" to the war in his country while visiting the Arab League summit. (Credit: Getty Images)
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky accused some Arab countries of "turning a bling eye" to the war in his country while visiting the Arab League summit. (Credit: Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images
The Ukrainian president made a flying visit to the Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia ahead of his trip to the G7 summit in Japan

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused some Arab countries of "turning a blind eye" to Russia's invasion of Ukraine while attending the Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia.

The Ukrainian leader made a fleeting visit to the meeting of Arab leaders in the country ahead of his trip to Japan to attend the G7 summit alongside Western leaders such as Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden. However, he was critical of some countries in the Arab world which have sought to maintain close ties with Russia since the invasion of his country in February 2022.

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Syrian leader Bashar-al Assad rejoined the Arab League summit for the first time since being suspended in 2011. The country, which has openly supported the Russian invasion, was not banned for a total of 12 years after a crackdown on pro-democracy protests during the Syrian civil war.

Here's everything you need to know about Zelensky's appearance at the meeting.

What did Zelensky say at the Arab League Summit?

Zelensky told the Arab leader that he condemned the fact that some countries in the region had "turned a blind eye" to the war perpetrated by Russia in his country. He said: "Unfortunately, there are some in the world and here among you who turn a blind eye to those [prisoner of war] cages and illegal annexations.

"I'm here so that everyone can take an honest look, no matter how hard the Russians try to influence, there must still be independence."

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In an emotional appeal to the Arab countries which have been affected by imperialism in the past, he added that Ukraine was defending itself against colonisers.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky accused some Arab countries of "turning a bling eye" to the war in his country while visiting the Arab League summit. (Credit: Getty Images)Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky accused some Arab countries of "turning a bling eye" to the war in his country while visiting the Arab League summit. (Credit: Getty Images)
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky accused some Arab countries of "turning a bling eye" to the war in his country while visiting the Arab League summit. (Credit: Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Which countries have supported Russia?

While Syria is the only country to outwardly express its support for Putin and Moscow, other countries have resisted pulling further away from Russia. Countries such as Saudi Arabia did not follow Western nations in imposing financial sanctions on Russia following the outbreak of war.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has said that his country wishes to remain neutral in the conflict, has offered in the past to mediate peace talks between Ukraine and Russia. He renewed that offer during Zelensky's visit to his country.

Zelensky's impassioned appearance at the summit also took aim at Iran. Although not a member of the Arab League, Iran neighbours many of the countries involved, although it experiences a strained relationship with some states such as Saudi Arabia.

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The Ukrainian leader criticised Iran's decision to supply Russia with drones after devices of Iranian-origin were found in crash sites. However, Iran has continued to deny that it has supplied Russia with any drones for the war in Ukraine.

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