What does Putin want from the UAE and Saudi Arabia?

What does Putin want from the UAE and Saudi Arabia?

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin visited the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia last week in a bid to expand relations with the two oil-rich states and show that he isn’t as isolated as he has been portrayed by the West.

The Russian dictator’s visit to the two Gulf states was only the second time he had ventured outside Russia in the eight months since the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest for the alleged war crime of unlawful deportation and transfer of Ukrainian children.

Like Russia, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are not members of the ICC and Putin therefore found it safe to be in these countries, just as he had when he visited China in October. His venture came against the backdrop of two consequential regional developments.

One is the Arab countries’ growing displeasure with the US for not doing enough to stop the Gaza war and a desire to rebalance relations with Washington under President Joe Biden, whom they have not found to be as receptive to them as his immediate predecessors. Putin has been keen to show that he is still a leader of substance on the world stage, despite all his domestic and foreign policy problems due to his Ukraine war of aggression and attrition and US-led sanctions against Russia.

To help expand ties with the Arab domain vis-à-vis America’s traditional influence in the region, he has expediently echoed the position of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which represents 57 Muslim countries (including Russia’s de facto ally, Iran), by calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and establishment of an independent sovereign Palestinian state.

Read more: aspistrategist.org.au

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