Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to visit Saudi Arabia for a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) to discuss various issues, including oil production, OPEC+, and the conflicts in the Gaza Strip and Ukraine. This rare trip abroad for Putin follows a drop in oil prices despite OPEC+ commitments to further reduce output.
The meeting in Saudi Arabia follows Putin’s arrival in Abu Dhabi for talks with President Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Additionally, Putin is expected to host Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Moscow on Thursday.
Putin’s visit will include talks with MbS on energy cooperation, particularly within the OPEC+ framework, which collectively contributes over 40% of the world’s oil production. The Kremlin emphasised that close coordination between Russia and Saudi Arabia in this context ensures stability and predictability in the global oil market.
The leaders are expected to cover a range of topics, including the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, the situations in Syria and Yemen, and broader issues related to Gulf stability. Ukraine will also be on the agenda, according to a Kremlin aide.
Putin’s meeting with MbS comes after recent disagreements that led to the delay of a crucial OPEC+ meeting. The two leaders, controlling a significant portion of daily oil production, have historically enjoyed close relations despite occasional tensions with the West.
The visit underscores the significance of maintaining high oil prices for both Russia and Saudi Arabia, with discussions likely focusing on how to share the burden of supporting oil prices amid global economic challenges. OPEC+ has faced internal disputes over production levels, and Saudi Arabia seeks further assurances from Moscow regarding its commitment to reducing fuel exports.
Relations between Russia and key players in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, have become increasingly significant for Moscow amid Western attempts to isolate the country. Putin has portrayed the conflict in the Gaza Strip as a failure of U.S. policy in the Middle East, fostering ties with Arab allies, Iran, and groups like Hamas.