Putin plans to visit UAE and Saudi Arabia this week, according to Russian media reports

President Vladimir Putin plans to visit the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia this week, Russian media outlets reported Monday. Putin will travel to the two countries for a working visit, during which he will meet the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, Russian state news agencies Tass and Ria Novosti said, citing the Shot Telegram channel and Russian news website Life.

Putin will visit Saudi Arabia where his “negotiations will primarily be with the crown prince,” shortly after making a trip to the UAE, the Shot Telegram channel quoted presidential aide Yuri Ushakov as saying.

The UAE is currently hosting the U.N. Climate Change Conference, but it is not clear if Putin will attend.

“I hope that these will be very useful negotiations, which we consider extremely important,” Ushakov was quoted as saying by Life news. Neither state news agency appeared to be able to independently confirm the reports.

Putin will be making the visit at a time when Russia wants to advance its role as a power broker in the conflict in the Middle East and challenge western narratives over the war in Ukraine.

Putin currently risks arrest if he leaves Russia after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him in March for war crimes, accusing him of personal responsibility for the abductions of children from Ukraine.

Since the warrant was issued, Putin chose not to attend a BRICS summit in South Africa because the country would be obliged to arrest Putin upon arrival as it is a signatory to the international court’s treaty.

Because neither Saudi Arabia nor the UAE have signed the ICC’s founding treaty, neither country would be forced to arrest him.

The notice against Putin in March was the first time the global court issued a warrant against a leader of one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. The ICC said in a statement that Putin is accused of the war crime of ” unlawful deportation ” of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia.

By Associated Press

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