Vladimir Putin Flies to UAE and Saudi Escorted by Four Fighter Jets
Russian President Vladimir Putin took a rare trip to two of the Gulf countries, seeking to strengthen his ties in the middle of his heightened global attention. His visit started with a stopover in Abu Dhabi, UAE, where his journey was notably tailed by a protective escort of four Russian Su-35s Flanker jets throughout his travels in the region.
Putin’s Diplomatic Voyage Despite Security Concerns
This rare trip for Putin, especially far from Russia’s borders, is one bold move since his involvement in the Ukraine war, coupled with an ICC arrest warrant. UAE signed the Rome Statute but remains non-ratified, while Saudi Arabia, another stop on Putin’s itinerary, stands uncommitted to the ICC agreement.
Paranoia or Strategic Display?
The four Su-35 escorts, typically reserved for safeguarding VVIPs, were armed with R-77 and R-73 air-to-air missiles. This display of military might be perceived either as a cautionary measure, a strategic demonstration of power, or potentially a promotional showcase of the Russia-made Su-35 fighter jets.
Kremlin Official Statement and Special Permissions
Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, released an official statement regarding Putin’s travels with the Su-35 fighter jets.
“During the flight of the presidential airplane to the landing in Abu Dhabi, the head of state was escorted by four Su-35S fighter jets of the Russian Aerospace Forces. These fighters carried standard armament of various classes. The Su-35S took off from an operational airfield in Russia in difficult weather conditions with heavy rain and gusty winds. The fighters were piloted by top-tier pilots,” Peskov said.
Peskov also mentioned that they obtained specific permissions needed to fly over the territories of the countries along the route, including the Caspian Sea and Iran.
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