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Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia, on Sept. 27, 2023. (Mikhail Metzel/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Dec. 6, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Dec. 5.

Putin made few trips abroad in 2023 after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant in March for his role in the deportations of Ukrainian children.

Neither Saudi Arabia nor the UAE are party to the ICC's Rome Statute, meaning they are under no obligation to detain the Russian leader.

"Tomorrow President Putin’s working visits to the UAE and Saudi Arabia will take place," Peskov said at a press briefing. According to the Kremlin, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will arrive in Russia for talks the next day.

The topics on the agenda for the meetings in Saudi Arabia and the UAE include discussions on the oil market, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and "bilateral relations," Peskov said.  

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Ukraine has also maintained relations with Saudi Arabia, which played an important role in negotiating prisoner exchanges with Russia.

Zelensky traveled to Saudi Arabia for the first time in May 2023, meeting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and appealing to Arab leaders to support Ukraine's peace plan.

Since Saudi Arabia hosted a summit on Ukraine's 10-point peace formula in August, Zelensky has held a call with the crown prince on a near-monthly basis.

Western officials also gathered in the UAE in September to discuss strategies to counter sanctions evasion.

Russia often uses imports from third-party countries, such as the UAE, as a means of circumventing sanctions.

Bloomberg reported on Nov. 9 that the UAE has agreed to begin restricting the export of sensitive materials with potential military use to Russia.

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