Vladimir Putin landed this Wednesday in the United Arab Emirates, the first stop on a strange Gulf trip that will also take him to neighboring Saudi Arabia.
It is the first time the Russian president has visited the region since October 2019, months before the Covid-19 pandemic, as part of the United Nations COP28 celebrations in Dubai. The other important backdrop is the war between Israel and Hamas, a conflict that has absorbed much of the international community’s attention to the detriment of the war in Ukraine.
It is also the first time he has traveled beyond China, Iran and the post-Soviet space since the invasion began in February 2022. Putin is gradually ending his isolation.
The Emirati President Mohamed bin Zayed was responsible for personally receiving him at the foot of the route, according to the state news agency. WAM. The Russian autocrat’s reception in Abu Dhabi was warm, more than expected for a person facing an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes committed in Ukraine.
These days, armed UN police officers are patrolling a part of Dubai’s Expo City that is now considered an international negotiating area. Although neither Riyadh nor Abu Dhabi signed the contract establishing the court, they are not obliged to maintain it.
The Kremlin’s international advisor, Yuri Ushakov, said on Tuesday that the Russian president will address the conflict in Gaza, the war in Ukraine and the prospects for cooperation within the OPEC+ framework during his trip to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Next January, both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will join other countries in the BRICS group, which originally consisted of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Information about Putin’s trip published early Wednesday by the state news agency TASS did not indicate that Putin might attend the COP28 headquarters, rather Ushakov himself was quoted as saying that the Kremlin chief would have a “meeting in the palace” and The Emirati leader, known by his acronym MBZ, will hold individual talks with the Emirati leader. He will then travel to Riyadh to meet with the Saudi crown prince Mohamed bin Salman and discuss issues related to oil production.
Last week, OPEC+ – the group led by Saudi Arabia and Russia – extended some production cuts until next year and brought promising oil supplier Brazil on board. Benchmark Brent crude traded around $77 a barrel on Wednesday, down from nearly $100 in September, due to concerns about the weakening global economy.
Putin’s regional tour ends on Thursday in Tehran, where he is scheduled to meet with the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi.