Last Monday, authorities in Qatar confirmed they had facilitated the safe return of four Ukrainian children who had been separated from their families.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has thanked Qatar for its humanitarian assistance in securing the release of a number of Ukrainian children from Russia, a Ukrainian President’s Office statement read.
“About 20,000 abducted children is what we have documented so far,” Zelenskyy noted in a phone call with Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, according to the statement.
“This is a scary figure, but the real number is even higher. Therefore, we need to continue this track. We are ready for further coordination and cooperation,” he added.
Last Monday, authorities in Qatar confirmed they had facilitated the safe return of four Ukrainian children who had been separated from their families following Russia’s invasion in February 2022.
Qatar took charge of the children’s accommodation at their embassy in Moscow and ensured their secure transfer to Ukraine. Doha expressed its “sincere gratitude and appreciation to both the Ukrainian and Russian governments for their cooperation.”
“We express our gratitude to Russia and Ukraine for their commitment to the successful reunification of Ukrainian kids with their families,” Lolwah Al-Khater, Qatar’s Minister of State for International Cooperation, said in a post on X.
“Qatar will continue its mediation efforts in this context and others, in line with its principles towards conflict resolution and peace-making,” she added.
Zelenskyy also highlighted a $100 million aid package from Qatar aimed at bolstering Ukraine’s energy sector, along with medical equipment for emergency and surgical departments.
Sheikh Mohammed then visited Ukraine in July, where the Gulf state pledged $100 million in humanitarian assistance to the war-laden country.
The vital humanitarian assistance package intended to support the European country’s ongoing recovery, enhancing its infrastructure and social services.
“This money will be channelled for reconstruction in the health and education sectors, humanitarian de-mining and other important social and humanitarian projects,” Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said at the time.
Zelenskyy and Sheikh Tamim also engaged in discussions concerning the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. They concurred on the necessity of de-escalating tensions, prioritising peace, and safeguarding civilians, as revealed in the president’s statement.
Zelenskyy also acknowledged the significant participation of Gulf countries in the implementation of the Ukrainian Peace Formula and thanked Qatar for its delegation’s presence at a recent meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as well as for their willingness to attend an upcoming meeting in Malta.
Zelenskyy’s conversation with Sheikh Tamim came a day after he had a similar discussion with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The next meeting on the Ukrainian Peace Formula is slated for next week in Malta, following earlier sessions in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Jeddah. Ukraine also intends to host a global summit focused on the Peace Formula.
At the G20 summit in November 2022, the Ukrainian President presented a 10-point peace plan that includes, among other items, the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and the withdrawal of Russian troops.
Qatar has long called for the need to diplomatically resolve the conflict through dialogue. It has also repeatedly urged Russia to respect Ukraine’s “territorial integrity”. In March last year, Qatar was among 141 countries who voted on a United Nations resolution demanding Russia’s “immediate and complete” withdrawal from Ukraine.
The seasoned mediator has expressed its openness to facilitate dialogue between rivals Russia and Ukraine “if asked” by its international partners, a top diplomat from the Gulf state told Newsweek earlier this month.
The remarks were made during an interview with Qatar’s Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulaziz bin Saleh Al Khulaifi, who tapped into the country’s record of successful global mediations.
“If asked to mediate in the Ukraine conflict, we would of course be ready to work towards facilitating dialogue and achieving peace in Europe,” Al Khulaifi told the American magazine, noting such mediation is “desperately needed.”
uring his interview with Newsweek, Al Khulaifi further reiterated Doha’s stance regarding the crisis and said the Gulf state “supports any and all constructive dialogue and negotiations that could lead to an end of the conflict.”
“As has been our position from the beginning, we continue to call for an immediate cessation of military action in Ukraine,” Al Khualifi said.
The Qatari official added that “humanitarian corridors must remain open to allow aid into the country” and stressed the need to respect “Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
In June, Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani travelled to Moscow where he met with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the first such meeting since last year.
A statement by Qatar’s foreign ministry at the time said Sheikh Mohammed “stressed the importance of respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.”