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Mihkelson: Russia is not as isolated as we would like it to be

Marko Mihkelson.
Marko Mihkelson. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Marko Mihkelson, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu, told ERR that Putin's visit to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia shows that Russia is not as isolated as Western countries would like.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is hosting the UN climate summit, to discuss oil prices with the country's leaders. Putin also headed to Saudi Arabia after his visit to the UAE to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Mihkelson said that Putin's reception in the UAE is a reminder that the world has changed, and while the West expects sanctions against Putin, both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been useful partners for Russia over the last two years.

"In both cases, they wield considerable power, both regionally and as oil producers. I think one of the main issues that Putin raised in the meeting was, once again, how to get the price of oil to rise somewhat or how to reduce oil production," he said.

Russia is not as isolated as we would like it to be, and its influence in the Middle East is considerable, Mihkelson said.

"I don't recall the president of the United States being received like this in this country in a long time. We have to face this reality, and it is a truth that Russia has this support, which we may not like, but it highlights the fact that we should do more jointly with our allies, particularly the United States, than we have been able to do thus far," he said.

He said that Russia's influence in the Middle East is expanding and the meetings probably also included talks about how to counter Western influence. "Surely Russia was looking for firmer, clearer support for the continuation of its aggression in Ukraine," Mihkelson said.

Mihkelson, who recently returned from a trip to the United States, said that the presidential race is in full swing and that the Republican Party is seeking for ways to influence the current administration. "Mainly on the issues of immigration and the southern border that, unfortunately, are really about giving aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan," Mihkelson said.

"My talks in Congress a few days ago gave me confidence that, despite the news, this aid package will be agreed upon soon. Worryingly, while Putin sprawls in the Middle East, the US at the highest levels continues to find it difficult to publicly declare that we must do all possible to lead Russia to defeat in its war against Ukraine," Mihkelson said.

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Editor: Barbara Oja, Kristina Kersa

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