Putin thanks the UAE leader for Ukraine help, hails growing business ties
Putin made the remarks while speaking with the president of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, outside of St. Petersburg's annual economic event for Russia.
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the growing commercial ties between Moscow and Abu Dhabi and thanked the leader of the United Arab Emirates for his efforts to free Ukrainian prisoners of war.
Putin made the remarks while speaking with the president of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, outside of Russia's annual economic event in St. Petersburg, where UAE businesses are well-represented in contrast to many Western competitors who have remained away due to the conflict in the Ukraine.
The UAE, like Saudi Arabia, is a part of the OPEC+ oil alliance, which also includes Russia. Despite Western attempts to help isolate and punish Moscow for sending tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February 2022, the UAE has maintained cordial relations with Moscow.
While Dubai, long a favourite of Russian tourists, has drawn more and more Russian businesspeople over the past 16 months as a result of busy direct flights to Moscow and growing economic links, the UAE has chosen not to join Western sanctions against Moscow.
According to Putin, the UAE president, "I know that the economy and social sphere of the Emirates are developing really actively under your leadership and, in this sense, the Emirates is obviously a very good and comfortable partner for us."
"Relationships between Russia and the Emirates are developing really successfully," he continued.
At least one delicate prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine was mediated by the UAE.
Thank you also for that, Putin added, adding that "(the exchanges) matter to specific people, and that is always the most important thing."
According to a Kremlin translation, Sheikh Mohammed referred to Putin as "my friend" and stated his country was prepared to assist Ukraine further.
The report quoted him as saying to Putin, "... if you think that the Emirates can play a role in the stabilisation of the situation there, in humanitarian issues - we are ready to assist in every way possible."
After the meeting, he tweeted separately, "The UAE continues to support all efforts aimed at achieving a political solution through conversation & diplomacy...
One million Russian visitors, according to Sheikh Mohammed, are expected to visit the UAE this year.