Riyadh is not going to pick sides between Moscow and Kiev, the Saudi economy minister says FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia’s flag © Global Look Press /Keystone Press Agency / Panoramic

Saudi Arabia will maintain its extensive trade relations with both Ukraine and Russia, Economy and Planning Minister Faisal Al-Ibrahim said on Tuesday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Speaking to Japan’s Nikkei newspaper, the minister said Western sanctions against Russia are “unilateral” and will remain as such.

Al-Ibrahim also praised Moscow’s role in the OPEC+ format, which unites major oil exporters.

The minister explained that Riyadh does not plan to increase oil output in order to lower prices, explaining that his country is currently focused on supply stability rather than more volume. He argued that the situation on international energy markets would be “much worse” if not for OPEC’s efforts.

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China boosts energy imports from Russia

The US, the EU and their allies have slapped Moscow with unprecedented sanctions following Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine. The restrictions have targeted Russia’s financial and banking sectors as well as aviation and the space industry. Numerous government officials, public figures and businessmen have been slapped with personal sanctions.

The US and Canada have banned Russian oil imports, while the EU is still debating the issue. The measure, which was expected to be included in Brussels’ sixth round of sanctions since the start of the conflict, has faced resistance from Hungary.

On Tuesday, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen argued that the bloc continues to buy Russian oil supposedly to prevent Moscow from taking it to the world market and profiting from soaring prices. (RT)