ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 147

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Putin to discuss Israel-Hamas war on rare trip to Saudi Arabia, UAE

Kremlin announces surprise Middle East visit, hoping for ‘very useful negotiations’; Russian president to host Iranian counterpart in Moscow later this week

Russian President Vladimir Putin holds the annual meeting of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, via video conference, in Moscow, Russia, December 4, 2023. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin holds the annual meeting of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, via video conference, in Moscow, Russia, December 4, 2023. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin will make a one-day trip to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia focused on the Israeli-Hamas war and host the Iranian president in Moscow this week, the Kremlin said Tuesday.

Putin will make working visits to both countries on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

The talks will focus on bilateral relations, the war between Israel and Hamas and other international issues, Peskov said. Issues related to oil price caps under OPEC+ will also be on the agenda, he added.

Putin’s trip was first announced on Monday by his foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov, who did not give a date for the visits when he spoke to the Russian news outlet Life.

“I hope that these will be very useful negotiations, which we consider extremely important,” Ushakov was quoted as saying by Life.

Putin will host Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in the Kremlin on Thursday, Peskov added.

The visit comes at a time when Russia wants to advance its role as a power broker in the conflict in the Middle East.

War erupted between Israel and Hamas after the terror organization’s October 7 massacre, which saw some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip by land, air and sea, killing some 1,200 people and seizing over 240 hostages of all ages under the cover of a deluge of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities. The vast majority of those killed as gunmen seized border communities were civilians — including babies, children and the elderly.

The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin 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.

Neither Saudi Arabia nor the UAE have signed the ICC’s founding treaty.

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 UN 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.

The Russian president visited China in October and recently made several trips to former Soviet nations.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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