Putin begins Middle East trip, arrives in UAE
WEB DESK: Despite an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court, Russian President Vladimir Putin is visiting the UAE and Saudi Arabia to discuss oil, OPEC+, and the conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday as part of a Middle East trip that also includes Saudi Arabia.
Russian state media reported that Putin’s plane had touched down in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi. Images broadcast on state television showed him being greeted by officials on the runway.
The Russian leader’s visit coincides with the United Nations’ COP28 climate talks taking place in Dubai, although it was unclear whether Putin would attend. His trip also comes despite an arrest warrant against him from the International Criminal Court over the war in Ukraine.
“Putin is the person most responsible for the horrible … war Russia is waging in Ukraine which led to the suffering of millions,” EU Climate Commissioner Wopke Hoekstra told DW at COP28.
“Our perspective is that, you know, there can be no business as usual. And it is up to countries who do decide to receive him to explain why they find that a good idea.”
Negotiations dominated by oil
Putin is due to hold talks with UAE President Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi before travelling to Saudi Arabia for his first face-to-face meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman since October 2019.
The Kremlin said they would discuss energy cooperation, including as part of OPEC+, whose members pump more than 40% of the world’s oil.
Other items on the agenda include Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, the situation in Syria and Yemen, and broader issues of stability in the Gulf, as well as the war in Ukraine, the Kremlin said.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin in March for war crimes, accusing him of personal responsibility for the alleged abduction of children from Ukraine.
Neither Saudi Arabia nor the UAE signed the ICC’s founding treaty, which means they’re under no obligation to arrest Putin over the warrant.