Putin trolls COP28 with oil talks next door

Putin trolls COP28 with oil talks next door

His presence presented a symbolic split screen: Global climate talks in one frame, Putin’s oil negotiations in the other.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — While everyone else was trying to rescue the world from climate catastrophe, Vladimir Putin was negotiating Russia’s oil exports down the road.

As the COP28 climate talks in Dubai reached their scheduled halfway point on Wednesday, the Russian leader landed discreetly just 150 kilometers away. His destination, however, was not the international forum where officials were debating the future of fossil fuels.

It was Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates’ capital, where Putin began a quick tour of two critical business partners. First up, Putin’s Emirati counterpart, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Then, it was over to Riyad to see Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

If not intentional, Putin’s timing certainly seemed designed to thumb his nose at the global talks happening less than a 90-minute drive away. His presence presented a symbolic split screen: Negotiators haggling over how to wean the world off fossil fuels in one frame, and Putin with every reason to keep them flowing in the other.

Russia’s oil, of course, has been keeping Moscow afloat since Putin launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, providing consistent revenue the Kremlin can draw from to cover its growing military costs. But oil prices have slipped recently, leaving Russia in a standoff over how to manage output with countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia. 

Over at COP28, Putin’s rare global galavant brought out the protesters. 

“Don’t you dare come to COP,” warned one of several signs held by climate activists from the Fridays For Future movement. “Fossil dictators out,” declared another.

And, more bluntly: “Fuck Putin.”

Inside the venue, though, Putin’s proximity barely registered. 

Read more: politico.eu

Photo: politico.eu

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