PM turns to brutal Saudi regime for help as Putin’s atrocities fuel energy crisis

Boris Johnson and Mohammed bin Salman in 2018 (Image: REX/Shutterstock)

The Daily Mirror
By Rachel Wearmouth

Boris Johnson is heading to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia to beg Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to increase oil production to help the West wean itself off Russian energy

As Russia carries out new attacks against the people of Ukraine, Boris Johnson is heading to Saudi, where 81 people were executed this week for opposing its brutal regime. The largest mass execution in Saudi’s modern history was on the orders of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also guilty of the merciless bombing of civilians in Yemen and was implicated in the 2018 assassination of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

But the PM heads to Riyadh to beg bin Salman to increase oil production to help the West wean itself off Russian energy. He will make similar pleas to Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed in the neighbouring UAE, also guilty of human rights abuses.

Mr Johnson said: “The UK is building an international coalition to deal with the new reality we face.

“The world must wean itself off Russian hydrocarbons and starve Putin’s addiction to oil and gas. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are key international partners in that.”

Pressed on whether the shift away from Russia meant dealing with other dangerous regimes, he said: “We want to build the widest possible coalition.”

Ed Miliband, Shadow Secretary of State for Climate and Net Zero, said: “It is a sign of our vulnerability and energy insecurity as a country that the Prime Minister is going to Saudi Arabia to seek an increase in oil production, despite the appalling human rights record.”

Polly Truscott, of Amnesty International UK, said: “Saudi oil shouldn’t be allowed to buy the world’s silence over Saudi’s terrible human rights record.”

Mike Davis, of Global Witness, said: “Oil and gas drives conflict. Rather than run, cap in hand, to Riyadh, the PM should be focusing on how we can rapidly invest in renewable energy.”

Conservative Julian Lewis, who chairs the Intelligence and Security Committee, called for assurances that the UK would not now become dependent on another “unreliable, sometimes hostile, regime”.