ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Russia sold weapons ranging from Kalashnikovs to missile systems at the biennial arms show in the United Arab Emirates on Monday — despite Russia’s criticism of Ukraine. The war faced Western sanctions.
The weapons for sale at an international defense exhibition and conference in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi underscore how the Gulf Arab Federation seeks to embrace Moscow while balancing ties with the West.
As Russia’s war on Ukraine approaches its one-year anniversary on Friday, Russian money continues to pour into Dubai’s red-hot real estate market.
Daily flights between Emirates and Moscow provide a lifeline for fleeing conscription and Russia’s elite. The U.S. Treasury Department has expressed concern about the amount of Russian cash flowing into the Arabian Peninsula country.
Arms shows typically see the UAE host people who might be seen as problematic in the West. Former Sudanese strongman Omar al-Bashir visited in 2017.Chechen regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov, himself now deeply involved in the war in Ukraine, attended 2019 and 2021.
This year’s event attracted Libya’s Khalifa Hifter, commander of the self-styled Libyan National Army He faces a U.S. lawsuit accusing him of orchestrating indiscriminate attacks on civilians and torturing and killing political opponents.
While not directly acknowledging it, the influence of Russia’s war on Ukraine was evident throughout Monday’s show.
To reach the Russian exhibition tent, fairgoers had to leave Abu Dhabi’s cavernous National Exhibition Center and follow a skybridge through an outdoor area.
Russian officials prevented Associated Press reporters from entering their tent as the incident unfolded, initially without explanation. About an hour later, an Associated Press reporter saw Russian Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov emerge from the tent.
Manturov is sanctioned by the United States and Britain, and London says he was “responsible for overseeing the Russian arms industry and equipping mobilized troops” in the war against Ukraine. However, Manturov described the ongoing war as an advertisement for Russian weapons.
“Any military action is further accompanied by interest in those products and weapons that are needed in a particular military conflict,” he said, according to TASS news agency. — the interest is high.”
He added: “Every transaction is closely scrutinized by our Western colleagues – they try to create obstacles; we secure such transactions so that they are as efficient as possible and carried out in private.”
Emirati officials did not directly acknowledge Manturov’s existence.
Asked about Russia’s presence at the arms show, the State Department told The Associated Press that “potential buyers should stand with Ukraine and avoid large purchases of Russian weapons and equipment.”
“While we view arms sales and defense cooperation as the sovereign decisions of individual countries, we have long made clear to our allies and partners around the world that we have a negative impact on Moscow’s revenues and the Kremlin’s continued reliance on Russian arms purchases. malicious influence expressed concern,” the State Department said.
The UAE hosts thousands of U.S. troops.Manturov visits UAE U.S. President Joe Biden in Kiev, Ukraine.
Inside the Russian tent, a video screen announced the power of Moscow’s surface-to-air missile systems, like those now being used to hit Ukrainian cities. A salesman shows a Kalashnikov assault rifle to the UAE army. Other model missiles sit on display.
Just outside the tent, Russian Helicopters displayed several civilian aircraft, flanked by attractive young women in silver flight hats.
UAE leader Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was not present at the opening ceremony, which was attended by his brother Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Mode. However, an English-language version of a Russian magazine at the arms show featured pictures of Sheikh Mohammed smiling and shaking hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during an earlier visit to Moscow.
In contrast, Baikal’s giant armed drone is parked next to the Russian tent. The Turkish company’s Bayraktar drone played such a pivotal role in Kiev’s campaign against Russia that there’s even a Ukrainian song about the plane.
Not far away, the U.S. Army Corps displayed a mock-up of a Javelin anti-tank missile, allowing the curious to launch it in a computer simulation.
U.S. Army First Sergeant. Evan Williams of the 2-116th Cavalry Regiment said he and his soldiers spoke at the exhibition with Russian tourists and others who were curious about the weapon, which was used in Ukraine Lethal impact on Russian armored vehicles.
“You’ve seen people walk by and be a little bit suspicious of it,” said Williams, who is from Boise, Idaho. “They came to talk to us and asked us questions about it.”
The U.S. Army also exhibited Patriot missile batteries at the show.The U.S. military will use this battery in combat for the first time in decades in 2022 Help defend Abu Dhabi from Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
At the same time, Israel also displayed its first complete weapons company, which is the UAE to diplomatically recognize the country in 2020Both Israeli and UAE leaders are deeply skeptical of Iran’s intentions, despite the UAE’s attempts to ease relations with Tehran, which is now enriching uranium closer to weapons-grade levels than ever before.
Relations between Israel and the UAE have heated up Israel continues building settlements on land where Palestinians hope for future state As more Israeli-Palestinian violence surged.
Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.