Russia's Putin hosts UAE leader Mohammed bin Zayed amid Ukraine bombardment

Russia's Putin hosts UAE leader Mohammed bin Zayed amid Ukraine bombardment
The visit to Russia by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan has sparked controversy with the UAE's western allies, eager to isolate Putin.
2 min read
Russia's Vladimir Putin welcomed the UAE's Mohammed bin Zayed to St Petersburg [Getty]

Embattled Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed ties between Moscow and Abu Dhabi on Tuesday as UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan visited St Petersburg. 

The visit by the UAE leader to Russia has sparked controversy among the Gulf state's Western allies, particularly on the back of OPEC's decision to cut oil production, seen as a big boost for Moscow.

"Despite all the difficulties that exist in [international relations] today, ties between Russia and the United Arab Emirates are an important factor of stability in the region and the entire world," Putin said at the start of his talks with Al-Nahyan.

Putin also lauded a recent decision by OPEC, Russia, and other oil-producing nations to limit production as key to stabilising the global energy market.

The Russian leader noted Al-Nahyan's support for the decision of the OPEC+ group that includes Russia to limit oil production to shore up oil prices, saying that "our decisions, our action, aren't directed against anyone".

Putin said: "Our actions are aimed at ensuring stability in global energy markets to make both consumers of energy resources and those who deal with production and supplies feel calm, stability and confidence, to help balance supply and demand."

The decision by OPEC+ to cut oil production by 2 million barrels a day has outraged the West, where many saw it as a move that would help Putin finance Russia's action in Ukraine.

The production cut also risked saddling President Joe Biden and Democrats with rising gasoline prices just ahead of US midterm elections.

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The UAE has maintained close business ties with Russia and sought to refrain from joining the sanctions imposed by the US and other Western allies over Moscow's action in Ukraine.

Putin hailed Al-Nahyan for apparent mediation efforts that helped solve some "really sensitive humanitarian issues" in Ukraine.

The UAE recently normalised relations with the Syrian regime, an ally of Russia that is under US sanctions for war crimes.