Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman met in late August. Their meeting helped broker a Ukraine-Russia prisoner swap announced Thursday, reported. Ukraine delivered 55 captives, while Russia delivered over 200 prisoners, including 10 foreigners. Something is loading.
Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in late August in a meeting that ultimately led to a prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia, reported Friday, citing three sources.
Few details of Abramovich’s involvement have been reported.
In a major prisoner swap announced on Thursday, Ukraine handed over 55 prisoners, including pro-Russian tycoon Viktor Medvedchuk.
In return, Russia delivered 215 Ukrainians, the majority of whom fought to defend the Azovstal steel plant in the besieged city of Mariupol.
Among the prisoners returned by Russia were 10 non-Ukrainians — five Britons, two Americans, one Moroccan, one Croat and one Swede, said.
In tweets sent Thursday, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry thanked Saudi Arabia for playing a “vital” role in negotiations to free the 10 foreign prisoners, who were flown to Riyadh after their release.
Saudi Arabia confirmed on Friday that Mohammed Bin Salman was involved in the mediation efforts that led to the release of the foreign prisoners, but did not give further details on the process. He also said Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked the prince for his contribution during a phone call.
The Saudi, Ukrainian and Russian governments did not immediately respond to Insider’s separate requests for comment on Friday’s prisoner swap.
The Sun newspaper reported on Thursday that Abramovich was on a private jet used to ferry foreign prisoners released from Russia to the Saudi capital Riyadh. The newspaper added that Abramovich gave the prisoners each of the phones to call home.
Abramovich attended peace talks between Russia and Ukraine earlier this year. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged President Joe Biden not to sanction him at the time, saying he could prove helpful to the process.
Shortly after the peace talks were held, Zelenskyy said the talks were at an “impasse because we will not trade our territory and our people”.