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Vista Projects
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Vista Projects

Putin Talks Ukraine, Oil Stability With UAE Leader Before OPEC+

These translations are done via Google Translate
(Bloomberg) Russia’s President Vladimir Putin spoke to the United Arab Emirates’ de facto leader about Ukraine and the need for continued coordination over OPEC+, as oil prices surge.

Putin and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed talked about “supporting stability in the global energy market,” according to a Kremlin statement on Tuesday.

OPEC+, a 23-nation alliance led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, meets on Wednesday. It’s expected to keep increasing production only gradually, despite crude jumping above $100 a barrel in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

President Joe Biden’s administration, concerned about rising fuel costs for American motorists, has put pressure on key OPEC members such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE to pump faster. They’ve so far rebuffed those calls, with officials arguing oil’s 33% rise this year is down to geopolitical tensions and doesn’t reflect an imbalance between supply and demand.

On Ukraine, Sheikh Mohammed “stated Russia’s right to defend its national security,” the Kremlin said. The UAE has not published its own statement about the call.

“It has been decided to continue interaction and contacts at different levels,” the Russian government said. Putin “listed the reasons, goals and targets of the Russian special operation to defend Donbas” in eastern Ukraine.

UN Abstention

The call happened as governments across the world break economic ties with Russia over the invasion. Sanctions imposed by the U.S., the European Union and the U.K. have already limited Moscow’s ability to import key western technologies, tap foreign debt markets and even access much of the $640 billion stash the country built up as a buffer to protect its economy.

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The UAE joined China and India in abstaining on a United Nations resolution on Friday condemning Russia’s attack. It later said Moscow’s veto meant the vote was a “forgone conclusion” and “avenues for dialogue must remain open.”

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was meant to see his UAE counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed in Moscow on Monday, but the meeting was canceled. Neither side explained why.

The UAE is in a tricky position regarding the invasion. It is one of Washington’s top Middle East allies but unveiled a foreign-policy reset in September, saying it should prioritize economic interests.

It has forged closer ties with Moscow in recent years and invested billions of dollars in Russia through one of its wealth funds.

The OPEC+ alliance is key to the relationship between Russia and Persian Gulf states, particularly the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

“OPEC’s Gulf countries are fence-sitting on the Ukraine war, eager to preserve unity with Russia on oil policy,” said Bill Farren-Price, director of Intelligence at Enverus Intelligence Research, and veteran observer of the cartel.

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