File Photo - Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greets Ukraine s President Volodymyr Zelensky, right, during the Arab summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, May 19, 2023. AP
Senior officials from around 40 countries gathered Sunday in Jeddah for a two-day meeting that aims to agree on key principles about how to end the conflict that has raged for more than 17 months.
But without Russia’s participation and without taking into account Moscow’s interests, the meeting was pointless, a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said. It repeated previous assurances that Russia is open to a diplomatic solution on its terms that ends the war and is ready to respond to serious proposals.
But Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelenskyy, ruled out Moscow’s previous demands that would give Russia time to dig in deeper in the parts of Ukraine it has occupied.
He said on X (formerly known as Twitter) that Russian forces must fully withdraw from the occupied areas and there would be no Kyiv compromise on that.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Security Service announced Monday it had detained an alleged Russian informant who gathered intelligence about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s trip to the southern Mykolaiv region last month.
It claimed the woman “was collecting data for an airstrike during Zelenskyy’s visit.”
The woman attempted to establish Zelenskyy’s route, times and visits in the region. She was detained when she tried to pass the information to the Russians, the statement said, without providing evidence.
Zelenskyy has been a prime target for the Kremlin since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, when he refused to leave Kyiv as Moscow’s forces approached.
He has been one of Ukraine’s unexpected trump cards in the war, playing a key role in rallying public morale, including a nightly video address, and becoming a recognizable face across the world as he presses allies and others to help Ukraine.
Also Monday, Russian shelling struck a nine-story residential building in the city of Kherson, killing one person and wounding four others, according to regional Gov. Oleksandr Prokudin. He said Kherson had endured a “tough night” as the Russians “covered the central part of the city with fire.”
A 57-year-old woman was killed and four people were wounded in the Russian shelling of a village in the northeastern Kharkiv province, Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said.