DISINFO: Saudi Arabia takes steps towards recognising Crimea as part of Russia
The Saudi Embassy in Moscow issues visas to Russian Crimean Muslim pilgrims without informing the Ukrainian authorities. Riyadh has de facto recognised the Crimeans as citizens of Russia. Despite the absence of official recognition, the monarchy is changing its attitude towards Crimea and Russia as a whole.
Saudi Arabia's Embassy in Moscow confirmed that it has been issuing visas for Crimean Tatars willing to make a Hajj, in Moscow, in their Russian passports, since 2014. Since 2015, a Russian intermediary company with offices in Moscow and in Crimea has been operating as a Hajj tour operator. However, Saudi Arabia does not link the issue of visas with the recognition of Crimea. The Council of Muftis of the Russian Federation urged Russian media outlet "Izvestia", which raised the question itself, not to mix politics and religious pilgrimage. The practice of the Saudis issuing visas for pilgrims has been going on for five years. No recent changes showing a different attitude of Saudi Arabia to this issue can be demonstrated. In 2014, Saudi Arabia voted for the UN GA's resolution 68/262 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Saudi Arabia did not express any intent to recognise Crimea Russian since then. No direct international flights can go from Crimea to Saudi Arabia, following the ICAO sanctions, and the pilgrims use Russian airports. See more disinformation cases about the illegal annexation of Crimea.