Putin makes rare foreign trip to Gulf states

A handout photo made available by the UAE Presidential Court shows A Fursan aerobatic team performs a flyby as Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives for a state visit reception at Qasr Al Watan, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 06 December 2023.
Image caption,An aerial aerobatic team in the UAE performed a flyby as Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Abu Dhabi

By George Wright & Nadeem Shad

BBC News

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a rare trip abroad to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia.

Expected discussion topics included the wars in Gaza and Ukraine, as well as oil production, with the UAE president.

The UAE is currently hosting the COP28 UN climate summit.

Mr Putin, who has barely left Russia since March when the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued him an arrest warrant, will also see Iran’s leader on Thursday in Moscow.

The ICC has accused him of illegally deporting Ukrainian children to Russia – a war crime – but neither the UAE nor Saudi Arabia recognise the court’s jurisdiction.

The Russian leader has snubbed other recent international summits including Brics in South Africa in August and the G20 summit in September in India.

The trips come as Russia is keen to project influence and undermine the West’s attempts to isolate it.

Mr Putin was greeted in the UAE with a full cavalry escort and motorcade while a national aerobatics team drew the Russian flag in the sky with smoke trails.

Russia’s leader told UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan that “our relations have reached unprecedented levels”.

Trade and oil will be on the agenda in the UAE, which a Kremlin statement said is “Russia’s main economic partner in the Arab world”.

The Russian president later travelled https://gunakanlah.com to Saudi Arabia to meet the kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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