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Heads of UAE and Russia meet in St Petersburg days after OPEC+ cuts oil production

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By Euronews
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, greet each other prior to their talks in St. Petersburg.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, greet each other prior to their talks in St. Petersburg.   -   Copyright  Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik   -  

Russian President Vladimir Putin has met his United Arab Emirates counterpart in St. Petersburg.

The move comes days after OPEC+ decided to cut global oil production by two million barrels per day, the alliance’s largest cut since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We are actively working in the framework of OPEC+,” said Putin. 

“I know your position. Our decisions, our action, aren't directed against anyone. We aren't acting to create problems for anyone… Our actions are aimed to ensure stability in global energy markets."

The decision to cut oil production further strained the United States' relationship with Saudi Arabia, a key member of the OPEC+ alliance.

US President Joe Biden called the decision “short-sighted while the global economy is dealing with the continued negative impact of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.”

Suhail al-Mazroui, the UAE’s Energy Minister, responded to the growing criticism by calling the decision “technical, not political”.

The war in Ukraine was expected to be a major talking point of the meeting. But the discussion also touched on the economy.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan noted that his country's economy was able to outride the COVID-19 pandemic, and had doubled its trade turnover despite "difficult" conditions.

The UAE initally maintained a neutral stance on the war in Ukraine – abstaining on UN votes criticising Moscow at the start of the invasion.

It changed that position last month when it backed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Moscow’s attempts to annex part of Ukraine.

The UAE's position reflects a new world order in which its relationship with the US is as important as its relationship with Moscow and Beijing, according to analysts.