Las Vegas Review-Journal

At Abu Dhabi show, Russia sells weapons

- By Jon Gambrell

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.

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