Las Vegas Review-Journal
At Abu Dhabi show, Russia sells weapons
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates —
Russia offered weapons for sale on Monday at a biennial arms fair in the United Arab Emirates, ranging from Kalashnikov assault rifles to missile systems — despite facing sanctions from the West over its war on Ukraine.
The event, known as the International Defense Exhibition and Conference and held in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, underscores how the Gulf Arab federation has sought to embrace Moscow while balancing its ties to the West.
As Russia’s war on Ukraine approaches its first anniversary on Friday, Russian money continues to flood into Dubai’s red-hot real estate market.
Daily flights between the Emirates and Moscow continue as the war grinds on, providing a rare lifeline for both those fleeing conscription and the Russian elite. The U.S. Treasury has already expressed concerns about the amount of Russian cash flowing into the Arabian Peninsula country.
The arms fair typically sees the Emiratis host individuals that could be seen as problematic in the West.
This year’s event drew Libya’s Khalifa Hifter, the commander of the self-styled Libyan National Army who faces a U.S. lawsuit accusing him of orchestrating indiscriminate attacks on civilians and torturing and killing political opponents.
But while not directly acknowledged at this year’s show, the tendrils of Russia’s war on Ukraine could be seen everywhere at the fair Monday.
To reach Russia’s exhibition tent, those attending the fair had to leave Abu Dhabi’s cavernous National Exhibition Center and cross along a skybridge to an outdoor area.
Russian officials delayed Associated Press journalists from going inside their tent as an event was going on, initially without explanation.