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Press review: What Putin, UAE leader discussed and Russian strikes cut off Ukrainian power

Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with his counterpart from the United Arab Emirates Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, lauding his willingness to play a role in resolving the conflict in Ukraine. The parties also discussed the activities within OPEC+ and the situation in Syria, Vedomosti writes.

“The UAE used to engage in mediation efforts only in issues related to the Arab world,” Senior Researcher at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations Yury Zinin noted. “Given the country’s increased activities in terms of the Ukrainian crisis, one can say that the UAE has apparently decided to raise its status, taking advantage of its certain equidistance from the West, Russia and China,” he explained. As for the Ukrainian conflict, the UAE may be a more preferable mediator than Turkey, who is a NATO member and has close ties to the West, Zinin noted.

However, Professor at Moscow State University’s Institute of Asian and African Studies Vladimir Isayev believes that Al Nahyan is an unacceptable figure for Ukraine as he is considered to be relatively “pro-Russian” because of his close contacts with Moscow in the past. According to Isayev, it’s more likely that Russia will become a mediator in the conflict in Yemen, where the UAE and Saudi Arabia have been opposing Moscow’s actual close partner Tehran since 2015.

Like other Arab countries, the UAE believes that the sanctions on Russian energy resources mean that the West and the US may later want to apply restrictions to them, too, Isayev pointed out. The UAE and Saudi Arabia have been pressured to increase output all this year, the expert emphasized. “The Arab world views Russia as a counterbalance and a tactical ally, while China has never supported these countries in their economic and political activities,” Isayev stressed.

The Russian Armed Forces’ high-precision strikes on Ukraine’s strategic energy facilities have led to massive electricity outages and forced Kiev to suspend power exports to Europe, Rossiyskaya Gazeta writes.

For Ukraine, electricity exports are primarily a source of budget revenues. Kiev exports power to four countries, namely Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Moldova, Macroeconomic Analysis Chief at Finam Olga Belenkaya explained. According to her, the export amounts are hardly critical for Europe but given the current energy crisis, any relatively cheap electricity supplies are vital. As for Ukraine, additional energy-generating capacity will matter a bit later, when the cold weather sets in and consumption rises.

Meanwhile, military expert Vladislav Shurygin told Izvesita that Russia’s armed forces had started fighting the way they should have from the very beginning. “We are now targeting the country’s infrastructure,” he explained. “First of all, energy and communication facilities and railways are coming under attack. All these targets are vulnerable and we have every opportunity to hit them. By leaving the enemy without electricity, we will deprive them of power and the means of communication, as well as of normally working railways. This sort of combat needs to be continued. This is what the West fears, which is why they are making such a fuss,” Shurygin said.

The expert pointed out that electricity issues would disrupt all of the Ukrainian military’s logistics, including the movement of personnel, military equipment, ammunition and related cargo, as well as the activities of defense and repair factories. “In order to cause major destruction to military logistics, this work needs to be continued for about a week and a half to two weeks,” Shurygin added.

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