PM Boris Johnson meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh to lobby for "reducing reliance on Russian hydrocarbons" in bid to punish Moscow for its military offensive in Ukraine.

The British prime minister praised Saudi Arabia's vision for 2030, but raised concerns of other human rights issues.
The British prime minister praised Saudi Arabia's vision for 2030, but raised concerns of other human rights issues. (Reuters)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has underscored the need for countries to work together "to improve energy security and reduce reliance on Russian hydrocarbons."

Meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on Wednesday, Johnson "set out the UK's view that we are facing a fundamentally changed world order following Putin's illegal invasion of Ukraine."

Johnson and bin Salman "agreed to collaborate to maintain stability in the energy market and continue the transition to renewable and clean technology," according to a UK government statement.

"They also committed to boost cooperation in defence, security, trade, and culture, welcoming a new UK-Saudi Strategic Partnership Agreement and a major investment announced today by the alfanar group in green aviation fuel in Teesside.”

The British premier "praised progress on Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, including on women’s empowerment and employment, but raised the UK's concerns about ongoing human rights issues."

The leaders also discussed key regional issues, the statement added.

President Vladimir Putin of Russia declared the start of a "special military operation" in Ukraine on February 24, saying Moscow doesn't want to occupy it but "demilitarise and de-Nazify" the eastern European country. 

Kiev calls it an "invasion" and has sought Western allies' financial and military help to fight Russian forces while also holding talks with Moscow to end fighting.

READ MORE: Oil rockets, gold tops $2,000 as Ukraine war hits global economy

Reducing dependency on Russian resources 

Johnson was on a one-day visit to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia amid plans to reduce dependency on Russian energy resources.

The UK, alongside its Western allies, has vowed to decrease its dependency on Russian fossil fuels after its attack on Ukraine.

The assault on Ukraine has continued for the past three weeks and the Western countries have so far introduced unprecedented sanctions targeting the Russian economy.

Ahead of his trip, Johnson said the world needed to "avoid being blackmailed by Putin in the way that so many Western countries sadly have been."

READ MORE: Russia-Ukraine stand-off: What are Europe’s natural gas alternatives?

Source: AA