ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Russia provided weapons on the market on Monday at a biennial arms fair within the United Arab Emirates, starting from Kalashnikov assault rifles to missile methods — regardless of dealing with sanctions from the West over its war on Ukraine.
The occasion, often called the Worldwide Protection Exhibition and Convention and held within the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, underscores how the Gulf Arab federation has sought to embrace Moscow whereas balancing its ties to the West.
As Russia’s war on Ukraine approaches its first anniversary on Friday, Russian money continues to flood into Dubai’s red-hot real estate market.
Each day flights between the Emirates and Moscow proceed because the war grinds on, offering a uncommon lifeline for each these fleeing conscription and the Russian elite. The U.S. Treasury has already expressed considerations in regards to the quantity of Russian money flowing into the Arabian Peninsula nation.
The arms fair usually sees the Emiratis host people that may very well be seen as problematic within the West. Former Sudanese strongman Omar al-Bashir got here to the 2017 version. Chechen regional chief Ramzan Kadyrov, himself now deeply concerned within the Ukraine war, came in both 2019 and 2021.
This yr’s occasion drew Libya’s Khalifa Hifter, the commander of the self-styled Libyan Nationwide Military who faces a U.S. lawsuit accusing him of orchestrating indiscriminate attacks on civilians and torturing and killing political opponents.
However whereas in a roundabout way acknowledged at this yr’s present, the tendrils of Russia’s war on Ukraine may very well be seen all over the place at the fair Monday.
To achieve Russia’s exhibition tent, these attending the fair needed to depart Abu Dhabi’s cavernous Nationwide Exhibition Heart and cross alongside a skybridge to an outside space.
Russian officers delayed Related Press journalists from going inside their tent as an occasion was occurring, initially with out rationalization. About an hour later, AP journalists noticed Denis Manturov, Russia’s minister of commerce and business, come out of the tent.
Manturov is sanctioned by each the US and the UK, with London describing him as being “answerable for overseeing the Russian weapons business and answerable for equipping mobilized troops” within the war on Ukraine.
Inside, a video display proclaimed the ability of Russian surface-to-air missile methods, like these now getting used to strike cities in Ukraine. Salesmen confirmed off Kalashnikov assault rifles to Emirati troops. Different mannequin missiles sat on show.
Simply exterior of the tent, Russian Helicopters displayed a number of of its civilian plane, flanked by engaging younger girls in silver flight caps.
UAE chief Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was not seen at the opening, which was attended by his brother, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Nevertheless, one Russian journal at the arms fair printed an English version that carried photographs of Sheikh Mohammed smiling and shaking Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hand throughout an earlier go to to Moscow.
In distinction, an enormous armed drone by Baykar was parked subsequent to the Russian tent. The Turkish drone firm’s Bayraktar drones have performed such a key position in Kyiv marketing campaign towards Russia there’s even a track in Ukrainian in regards to the plane.
A brief stroll away, U.S. Military troops confirmed off a mannequin of a Javelin anti-tank missile, permitting the curious to fireplace it in a pc simulation.
U.S. Military 1st Sgt. Evan Williams of the 2-116th Cavalry Regiment mentioned he and his troopers had talked to Russian guests at the fair and others curious in regards to the weapon, which Ukraine has used to lethal impact towards Russian armored autos.
“You have seen individuals stroll by and type of do a double-take about it,” mentioned Williams of Boise, Idaho. “They arrive speak to us, ask us questions on it.”
The U.S. Military additionally had a Patriot missile battery on show at the fair. American forces used the battery in fight for the primary time in a long time in 2022 to help defend Abu Dhabi against an attack by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
In the meantime, Israel as effectively had its first full contingent of weapons corporations on show, for the primary time since the UAE diplomatically recognized the country in 2020. Each Israel and the UAE’s management have a deep suspicion about Iran’s intentions, although the UAE has tried to deescalate with Tehran, which now enriches uranium nearer than ever to weapons-grade ranges.
Israeli-Emirati ties have warmed whilst Israel continues to build settlements on land the Palestinians want for their future state and as extra Israeli-Palestinian violence spikes.
Comply with Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.