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Business tycoon Ambani is organizing a pre-wedding celebration for his son Anant Ambani, with Rihanna and 1,200 guests in attendance

Business tycoon Ambani is organizing a pre-wedding celebration for his son Anant Ambani, with Rihanna and 1,200 guests in attendance

Mumbai, INDIA (AP/DT) — Rihanna arrived in Jamnagar for the pre-wedding party of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant. She was seen wearing a black top and dark pants, accessorized with a bag, and flaunting long blonde curls. Accompanied by her team and security, she traveled to the venue in a golf cart. Reports suggest that Rihanna will perform a medley of her songs at the party.

It could be the biggest party this small west Indian city has ever seen. As billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani prepares for the wedding of his son this summer, he’s expecting billionaires from around the world, heads of state, and Hollywood and Bollywood royalty to attend a three-day bash in the family’s hometown, starting Friday.

READ MORE : Inside the 2024 Golden Globes: What you didn’t see on camera

The nearly 1,200-person guest list includes Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Sunder Pichai and Ivanka Trump; Indian billionaires Gautam Adani and Kumar Mangalam Birla; legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar; and Bollywood celebrities such as Deepika Padukone, Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Salman Khan, Arijit Singh and Diljeet Dosanjh.

Bollywood actors Ranveer Singh, left and Deepika Padukone arrive at airport to attend the pre-wedding celebrations of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant in Jamnagar, India, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

They’ll be entertained by pop superstar Rihanna, magician David Blaine and famous Bollywood singers.

The party is in Jamnagar, a city of around 600,000 in a near-desert part of Gujarat state. It’s the family’s hometown, and the home of the main oil refinery of their business empire, Reliance Industries. There will also be traditional ceremonies in a temple complex.

On Wednesday, the Ambani family sought organized a community food service for 51,000 people living in nearby villages.

Anant Ambani, 28, is set to marry his long-time girlfriend Radhika Merchant, in July. Merchant is the daughter of Viren Merchant, CEO of Encore Healthcare Pvt. Ltd., and entrepreneur Shaila Merchant.

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Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan leaves the airport in a car as he arrives to attend the pre-wedding celebrations of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant in Jamnagar, India, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

The three-day pre-wedding bash starting Friday will provide a glimpse of the wedding itself, which is expected in July.

Ambani. Known as “Vantara,” meaning “Star Of The Forest,” the 3,000 acre (1,200 hectare) center houses abused, injured and endangered animals, especially elephants.

The invitation says guests will find a mood board for each day’s dress code, with an army of hair stylists, makeup artists and Indian wear designers at their hotel.

Forbes lists Mukesh Ambani as the richest person in Asia. His Reliance Industries is a massive conglomerate, reporting over $100 billion in annual revenue, with interests ranging from petrochemicals, and oil and gas to telecoms and retail.

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Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan leaves the airport in a car as he arrives to attend the pre-wedding celebrations of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant in Jamnagar, India, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

Indian tycoons are never in a hurry to pass on the baton, but the 66-year-old Mukesh Ambani has begun handing over leadership to his sons and daughter.

Elder son Akash is now chairperson of Reliance Jio; daughter Isha oversees retail; and younger son Anant has been inducted into the new energy business.

The guest list also includes Mohammed Bin Jassim al Thani, the prime minister of Qatar; Stephen Harper, former Canadian prime minister; and the king and queen of Bhutan.

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Turkey receives US draft letters approving F-16 jets deal -official

Turkey receives US draft letters approving F-16 jets deal -official

Ankara, TURKEY (Reuters) – The United States has sent Turkey draft letters of offer and acceptance regarding its request to buy Block-70 F-16 fighter jets and modernisation kits, Turkey’s defence ministry spokesperson said on Thursday.

Turkey made the request in October 2021, two years after the United States kicked Turkey out of the fifth-generation F-35 fighter jet program over its procurement of a Russian missile defence system.

READ MORE : Blinken opens latest urgent Mideast tour in Turkey as fears grow that Gaza war may engulf region

The U.S. administration finally agreed to conclude the delayed deal after a series of negotiations following Ankara’s approval of Sweden’s NATO membership bid.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration formally informed the Congress of its intention to proceed with the $23 billion sale of the Lockheed Martin (LMT.N), opens new tab jets in January.
The sale was considered final earlier this month when the Congress did not block the sale within 15 days.

“Our ministry has received the draft letters of offer and acceptance sent by the U.S. for the sale of 40 new Block-70 F-16s and 79 modernisation kits and ammunition and equipment for them. (We) have started the necessary examination and evaluation,” ministry spokesperson Rear Admiral Zeki Akturk told reporters.

After Turkey’s review of the draft letters, officials from the two countries are expected to meet to finalise the deal.

Turkey is one of the largest operators of the F-16 jets, with its fleet made up of more than 200 older Block 30/40/50 models.
Relations between the two NATO allies have gained significant momentum on which they can capitalise, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said last week after meeting with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan.

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Mexico President issues ‘respectful’ criticism of Canada for new visa requirements

Mexico President issues ‘respectful’ criticism of Canada for new visa requirements

Mexico City, MEXICO (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador issued a “respectful reproach” to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a regular press conference on Thursday for reinstating some visa requirements for Mexican nationals.

The move by Canada, reported on Wednesday, is in a bid to curb the flow of asylum seekers, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp earlier said citing a senior official.

READ MORE : Hundreds leave to join Mexico migrant caravan headed for US

Lopez Obrador said he felt a “small, fraternal, respectful reproach to the prime minister” for Canada’s decision but also that Mexico would act with “prudence” in response.

Brasil is to invest R$27 billion in ecological transition with international support


Brasil is to invest R$27 billion in ecological transition with international support

Partnership between the Brazilian government, the World Bank and the IDB aims to promote a green economy and attract foreign investment. International cooperation seeks to strengthen climate finance and create a favorable environment for sustainable investments in the country.

São Paulo, BRAZIL (DT) – “The time to take advantage of this window is now,” defended Rogério Ceron, Secretary of the National Treasury (STN), during the presentation of the Foreign Private Capital Mobilization and Exchange Protection Program – Eco Invest Brasil, on Monday, February 26, in São Paulo. Through international cooperation, the Brazilian government will set aside R$27 billion to boost private investment in sustainable transition projects, responding to Brasil’s priority in the forum being debated by the G20’s Sustainable Finance working group.

The cooperation aims to encourage foreign investment in sustainable projects in the country and to offer exchange rate protection solutions, so that the risks associated with exchange rate volatility are reduced and do not disrupt these investments, which are so crucial to Brasil’s ecological transformation.

READ MORE : Brazil calls for reform of United Nations as it starts its G20 presidency

Ceron recalled that the transition to a low-carbon economy is a global necessity, that economies are making efforts to make this transition and that the moment is crucial and favorable for Brasil as a unique economic and strategic opportunity. “80% of our energy matrix is already clean, which means that the country has a very significant competitive edge and, from this, can develop an entire economy. We need to immediately take advantage of this timeframe so that we don’t miss out on this historic opportunity that Brasil fortunately has the chance to have,” emphasized the secretary.

The STN secretary also explained that the economies of the Global South are fundamental to the processes of ecological transition, but have the lowest private capital effort. “It’s notorious that in the Brazilian case, and that of other emerging economies, domestic investment won’t be able to cope with all the necessary effort. It is essential to attract foreign savings to the country in order to resolve these issues,” explained Ceron.

Marina Silva, Minister of Environment and Climate Change (MMA), pointed out that the timing of the debate is especially important because the G20 member countries hold 80% of the world’s financial and technological resources, while they also account for almost 80% of emissions of CO² (carbon dioxide), currently approximately 31 billion tons.

“The challenge of the ecological transformation that Brasil and the world need won’t happen if we only have the hub of public investment. We’ll have to combine it with private investment, and that’s what will make the difference. If we correctly integrate the efforts of the public and private sectors, we can make a difference in an agenda that is strategic to the balance of the planet and the maintenance of life,” said Silva.

Eco Invest Brasil was developed in a partnership between the Brazilian Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Brasil (Banco Central do Brasil – BCB), with resources and technical support from Inter-American Development Bank (BID) and World Bank (BM), within the framework of the Brasil’s Ecological Transformation Plan.

According to Ilan Goldfajn, president of the IDB, the bank acted as a technical partner in designing the operationalization of the derivatives packline and the operationalization of the credit line. “We supported the program on two sides: one with US$3.4 billion, to help with the issue of derivatives and options; and another with US$2 billion, to provide liquidity to companies. A total of R$27 billion will be made available by the IDB to support the development, liquidity and efficiency of the country’s foreign currency protection market, by purchasing derivatives on the foreign market and passing them on to local financial institutions,” explained.

For full article visit G20

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Putin warns West of risk of nuclear war, says Moscow can strike Western targets

Putin warns West of risk of nuclear war, says Moscow can strike Western targets

Moscow, RUSSIA (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin told Western countries on Thursday they risked provoking a nuclear war if they sent troops to fight in Ukraine, warning that Moscow had the weapons to strike targets in the West.

The war in Ukraine has triggered the worst crisis in Moscow’s relations with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Putin has previously spoken of the dangers of a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia, but his nuclear warning on Thursday was one of his most explicit.

READ MORE : Zelenskyy, Moldovan President discuss events in Transnistria, tools to counter Russia’s influence

Addressing lawmakers and other members of the country’s elite, Putin, 71, repeated his accusation that the West was bent on weakening Russia, and he suggested Western leaders did not understand how dangerous their meddling could be in what he cast as Russia’s own internal affairs.

He prefaced his nuclear warning with a specific reference to an idea, floated by French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday, of European NATO members sending ground troops to Ukraine – a suggestion that was quickly rejected by the United States, Germany, Britain and others.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual address to the Federal Assembly, in Moscow, Russia, February 29, 2024. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

“(Western nations) must realise that we also have weapons that can hit targets on their territory. All this really threatens a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons and the destruction of civilisation. Don’t they get that?!” said Putin.
Speaking ahead of a March 15-17 presidential election when he is certain to be re-elected for another six-year term, he lauded what he said was Russia’s vastly modernised nuclear arsenal, the largest in the world.

“Strategic nuclear forces are in a state of full readiness,” he said, noting that new-generation hypersonic nuclear weapons he first spoke about in 2018 had either been deployed or were at a stage where development and testing were being completed.
Visibly angry, Putin suggested Western politicians recall the fate of those like Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler and France’s Napoleon Bonaparte who had unsuccessfully invaded Russia in the past.

“But now the consequences will be far more tragic,” said Putin. “They think it (war) is a cartoon,” he said, accusing Western politicians of forgetting what real war meant because they had not faced the same security challenges as Russians had in the last three decades.


Russian forces now had the initiative on the battlefield in Ukraine and were advancing in several places, Putin said. Russia must also boost the troops it has deployed along its western borders with the European Union after Finland and Sweden decided to join the NATO military alliance, he added.
The veteran Kremlin leader dismissed Western suggestions that Russian forces might go beyond Ukraine and attack European countries as “nonsense”. He also said Moscow would not repeat the mistake of the Soviet Union and allow the West to “drag” it into an arms race that would eat up too much of its budget.
“Therefore, our task is to develop the defence-industrial complex in such a way as to increase the scientific, technological and industrial potential of the country,” he said.
Putin said Moscow was open to discussions on nuclear strategic stability with the United States but suggested that Washington had no genuine interest in such talks and was more focused on making false claims about Moscow’s alleged aims.
“Recently there have been more and more unsubstantiated accusations against Russia, for example that we are allegedly going to deploy nuclear weapons in space. Such innuendo… is a ploy to draw us into negotiations on their terms, which are favourable only to the United States,” he said.
“…On the eve of the U.S. presidential election, they simply want to show their citizens and everyone else that they still rule the world.”

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Agreement for Air Services between Japan and the Czech Republic was signed in Tokyo


Agreement for Air Services between Japan and the Czech Republic was signed in Tokyo

Tokyo, JAPAN (DT) – On February 29, Ms. Yoko Kamikawa, Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, and H.E. Mr. Jan Lipavský, Czech Republic’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, signed the “Agreement between Japan and the Czech Republic for Air Services” in Tokyo.

The agreement, aimed at enhancing air connectivity and promoting tourism and business exchanges between the two nations, marks a milestone in bilateral relations. It encompasses various aspects of air services, including routes, frequencies, and operational protocols, ensuring smoother travel experiences for passengers traveling between Japan and the Czech Republic.

READ MORE : Why Japan is hosting a conference for Ukraine reconstruction amid ongoing conflict

The signing ceremony, held in Tokyo, reflects the commitment of both countries to strengthen their economic and diplomatic ties. The agreement is expected to facilitate increased air traffic between Tokyo and Prague, the capital cities of Japan and the Czech Republic, respectively.

This agreement opens up new opportunities for airlines from both countries to expand their operations and offer more convenient and efficient air travel options for passengers. It also paves the way for deeper cooperation in the aviation sector, fostering mutual growth and development.

The foreign ministers of Japan and the Czech Republic exchaning the Air Services agreement in Tokyo On Thursday, February 29, 2024. Photo : @MofaJapan_en

The signing of the “Agreement between Japan and the Czech Republic for Air Services” underscores the importance of collaboration and connectivity in today’s globalized world. It is anticipated to contribute positively to the growth of tourism, trade, and people-to-people exchanges between Japan and the Czech Republic, further strengthening the bonds of friendship and cooperation between the two nations.

Highlights of the agreement for Air Services

1.The Agreement establishes a legal framework for the stable operation of scheduled air services between Japan and Czech Republic. The Agreement provides for the mutual granting of the right to operate scheduled air services and also stipulates basic principles for determining capacity, principles and procedures concerning tariffs, exemptions from taxes and other charges concerning fuel and other items used by aircraft, and ensuring measures for air safety and security.
It is expected that this Agreement will further promote people-to-people and economic exchange between Japan and Czech Republic.

2. Each Contracting Party of this Agreement will send through diplomatic channels to the other Contracting Party the notification confirming that its internal procedures necessary for the entry into force of this Agreement have been completed (in the case of Japan, the approval of the Diet is required.). The Agreement will enter into force on the first day of the third month following the date of receipt of the latter notification.

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Zelenskyy, Moldovan President discuss events in Transnistria, tools to counter Russia’s influence


Zelenskyy, Moldovan President discuss events in Transnistria, tools to counter Russia’s influence

Tirana (Interfax) – President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and President of Moldova Maia Sandu held a meeting as part of their participation in the Ukraine-Southeastern Europe summit in Tirana.

According to the press service of the Ukrainian head of state, the parties discussed recent events in Transnistria, as well as attempts by the aggressor country to destabilize the situation there and effective tools to counter the influence of Russia.

READ MORE : Wheat from Ukraine, a nation facing warfare, to feed families affected by conflict in Sudan

“Thank you for your words of support. We are absolutely on your side. We support you and your people,” Zelenskyy said.

The state leaders also discussed the functioning of transport corridors for the export of Ukrainian products through the territory of Moldova.

“The interlocutors emphasized that the integration of Ukraine and Moldova into the European Union is a common goal of the two countries, and agreed on further mutual support and coordination of efforts on the path to EU membership,” the service said.

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Funeral of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to be held on Friday, his spokesperson says


Funeral of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to be held on Friday, his spokesperson says

BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS – The funeral of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died earlier this month in a remote Arctic penal colony, will take place on Friday in Moscow after several locations declined to host the service, his spokesperson said.

His funeral will be held at a church in Moscow’s southeast Maryino district on Friday afternoon, Kira Yarmysh said Wednesday. The burial is to be at a nearby cemetery.

READ MORE : Over 400 detained in Russia as country mourns the death of Alexei Navalny, Putin’s fiercest foe

Navalny died in mid-February in one of Russia’s harshest penal facilities. Russian authorities said the cause of his death at age 47 is still unknown, and the results of any investigation are likely to be questioned abroad. Many Western leaders have already said they hold Russian President Vladimir Putin responsible for his death.

Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, she said most venues said they were fully booked, with some “refusing when we mention the surname ‘Navalny,” and one disclosing that “funeral agencies were forbidden to work with us.”

Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, said the funeral was initially planned for Thursday –- the day of Putin’s annual address to Russia’s Federal Assembly -– but no venue would agree to hold it then.

“The real reason is clear. The Kremlin understands that nobody will need Putin and his message on the day we say farewell to Alexei,” Zhdanov wrote on Telegram.

Shortly after the announcement of the funeral plans, Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, addressed European lawmakers in Strasbourg.

Speaking at the European Parliament, she confirmed that her husband would be buried on Friday and expressed fears that the police might interfere.

“I’m not sure yet whether it will be peaceful or whether police will arrest those who have come to say goodbye to my husband,” she said.

At some points appearing tearful amid applause from lawmakers but largely resolute, Navalnaya said her husband’s death “showed everyone that Putin is capable of anything, and that you cannot negotiate with him.”

She appealed to the European Parliament to be “innovative” in its approach to the Russian president and those close to him.

“You cannot hurt Putin with another resolution or another set of sanctions,” she said, urging lawmakers instead to “apply the methods of fighting organized crime, not political competition.”

She asked the parliament to investigate “financial machinations” and “mafia associates” in their countries and “discreet lawyers and financiers who are helping Putin and his friends to hide money.”

In introducing Navalnaya, the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, paid tribute to Navalny.

“For many in Russia and outside, he represented hope. Hope in better days. Hope in a free Russia. Hope in the future,” she said.

Navalnaya and Navalny were married for more than 20 years, and she was at his side as he helped lead the biggest protests in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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Wheat from Ukraine, a nation facing warfare, to feed families affected by conflict in Sudan

Wheat from Ukraine, a nation facing warfare, to feed families affected by conflict in Sudan

The initial delivery of wheat, contributed by Ukraine through the Grain from Ukraine initiative, has reached Sudan, as announced by the UN World Food Program (WFP) on its website.

“This generous donation will empower WFP to assist individuals whose lives have been severely affected by the conflict. We extend our sincere appreciation to Ukraine and Germany for standing with the Sudanese people during this critical time,” stated Eddie Rowe, WFP’s Country Director in Sudan.

READ MORE : Ukrainian President Zelensky lands in Saudi Arabia to push for peace and a POW exchange with Russia

As per the press release, the Ukrainian wheat has reached Port Sudan and is currently being loaded onto WFP trucks for urgent food distributions in the conflict-stricken nation. This donation of food will form a crucial component of the food rations for one million people affected by conflict in Sudan, lasting for one month.

The 7,600 tonnes of wheat flour is anticipated to be distributed among families, many of whom have been displaced from their homes due to the ongoing fighting and are facing challenges in meeting their daily food requirements. This quantity of grain is expected to suffice for one month.

The in-kind donation – part of the ‘Grain from Ukraine’ humanitarian initiative launched by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – arrived in the coastal city of Port Sudan and was loaded onto WFP trucks for emergency food distributions.

In a recent update on X (formerly Twitter), the World Food Program announced that a shipment of wheat from Ukraine will facilitate assistance to 1 million people in Sudan. They further noted that this significant donation was made possible with support from Germany.

The humanitarian situation in Sudan is catastrophic but we need to act now to stop it from spiralling further out of control,” said Eddie Rowe, WFP’s Country-Director in Sudan.

Staff are “working at pace to get food assistance into the hands of families that need it as quickly as possible,” he added.

The 7,600 tonnes of wheat flour will be provided to families, many of whom have fled their homes due to the fighting and are struggling every day to meet their food needs.

The shipment was made possible by the German Federal Foreign Office which covered the entire 15 million Euro operating costs, including the transportation of the wheat from Ukraine to Sudan and the implementation and distribution within the country.

It has arrived at a critical time as fighting continues to spread ahead of the lean season in May, when food typically becomes scarcer and hunger rises.

“This donation will enable WFP to support people whose lives have been completely upended by the war,” said Mr. Rowe, expressing gratitude to Ukraine and Germany for supporting the Sudanese people in their greatest hour of need.

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Ukrainian President Zelensky lands in Saudi Arabia to push for peace and a POW exchange with Russia


Ukrainian President Zelensky lands in Saudi Arabia to push for peace and a POW exchange with Russia

Dubai, UAE (AP/SPA) — Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday and met the kingdom’s powerful crown prince to push for a peace plan and the return of prisoners of war from Russia.

At the Royal Terminal in King Khalid International Airport, the Ukrainian President was received by the Deputy Governor of Riyadh Region, Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz, the Minister of State, and Member of the Cabinet (accompanying minister), Dr. Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, the Mayor of Riyadh Region, Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz bin Ayyaf, the Saudi Ambassador to Ukraine, Mohammed Al-Mas-har Al-Jibreen, the Ambassador of Ukraine to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Anatolii Petrenko, and several other officials.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has sought to position himself as a potential mediator to end the war between Ukraine and Russia — even as Riyadh remains closely aligned with Russia on energy policies through the OPEC+ group of countries. The day before, the prince hosted Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of Russia’s Duma, the lower house of its parliament, and a host of other Russian officials.

READ MORE : Ukrainian troops pull back again as Russia’s onslaught pushes ahead in eastern Ukraine

Zelenskyy’s trip came as Kyiv’s forces were slowly being pushed back in eastern Ukraine. Russia has gained the initiative due to its big advantage in troop numbers and weapon supplies, military analysts say, as Kyiv waits for news of new provisions from its Western partners.

The Ukrainian military said Tuesday it withdrew its forces from two more villages near Avdiivka in the eastern Donetsk region following intense overnight fighting, according to a Ukrainian army spokesman.

Ukrainian troops have pulled back from Sieverne and Stepove, Dmytro Lykhovyi said on national television. The two villages had a population of some 100 people in total before the full-scale invasion, he said.

Ukraine continues to “rely on Saudi Arabia’s ongoing active support” in pushing forward with what has been described as a “Peace Formula” to end the full-scale invasion, which marked its second anniversary over the weekend, Zelenskyy said in a message on X, formerly Twitter.

Zelenskyy has presented a 10-point peace formula that, among other things, seeks the expulsion of all Russian forces from Ukraine and accountability for war crimes — at a time when the two sides are fighting from largely static positions along a roughly 1,500-kilometer (930-mile) front line. Such ideas are rejected out of hand by Moscow.

“The second topic is the return of POWs and deportees,” Zelenskyy wrote. “The kingdom’s leadership has already contributed to the release of our people. I am confident that this meeting will also yield results.” He also said economic cooperation would be discussed.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency said that Zelenskky arrived at Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport and was met by government officials. Later footage showed Zelenskyy along with top officials in his government meeting with a smiling Prince Mohammed. Also on hand was Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz.

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In this photo provided by state-run Saudi Press Agency, SPA, shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is greeted by Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Governor of Riyadh, upon his arrival at King Khalid International Airport, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Feb.27,2024.Photo : SPA via AP

Footage showed the prince and Zelenskyy, both of whom speak English, talking among themselves without translators in a vast greeting hall at a palace as other officials sat nearby.

Over the last several years, Crown Prince Mohammed has reached a detente with Iran, pursued a peace deal with Yemen’s Houthi rebels, and also offered himself as a leader in other crises worldwide. That’s after facing widespread international condemnation for the Saudi-led war in Yemen and the 2018 killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, which U.S. intelligence agencies believe was carried out on his orders.

Neither Saudi Arabia nor Ukraine immediately offered a detailed readout of the leaders’ discussions. On Monday, the kingdom described Prince Mohammed discussing “issues of common interest” with the Russian Duma leader.

“Volodin relayed the greeting and good wishes from Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Russia’s state-run Tass news agency said.

In May, Zelenskyy traveled to Saudi Arabia for a meeting of Arab leaders and also met then with Crown Prince Mohammed. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar — all neighbors on the Arabian Peninsula — have been involved in prisoner exchanges since the war broke out in 2022.

Associated Press writer Susie Blann in Kyiv, Ukraine contributed to this report.

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