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Vladimir Putin to visit UAE and Saudi Arabia this week

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Reuters/Pavel Golovkin
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, met with Saudi Arabia's then deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2016 to agree to cooperate on global oil markets

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit the UAE and Saudi Arabia this week, Russian news outlet Shot reported on Monday, citing Putin’s aide Yury Ushakov.

The reported visit comes after the Opec+ group of oil producers, which includes all three countries, agreed last Thursday to voluntary output cuts totalling about 2.2 million barrels a day (bpd).

Markets reacted with scepticism to the deal because of doubts about whether the voluntary cuts would be fully implemented. Oil prices fell two percent last week after the announcement, and declined further on Monday.  

The figure of 2.2 million bpd included an extension of existing Saudi and Russian voluntary cuts of 1.3 million bpd.

Shot quoted Ushakov as saying Putin would go first to UAE and then to Saudi Arabia, where negotiations would take place mainly with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“I hope that these will be very useful negotiations, which we consider extremely important,” Ushakov said.

Putin has rarely travelled abroad in recent years, and mostly to states of the former Soviet Union. His last trip beyond those countries was to China in October.

Apart from cooperation in Opec+, Putin is keen to cultivate the Gulf states as part of his drive to build global alliances with non-Western countries in order to demonstrate what he says is the failure of the United States and its allies to isolate Russia with sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

Putin’s scope to travel abroad was limited in March when the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against him for the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia, a war crime. Russia denied the charge and called the move outrageous, but said it was legally void in any case because Russia is not a member of the ICC.

Neither Saudi Arabia nor the UAE is a member of the court either.