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7 Dec, 2023 12:34

Kremlin explains why fighter jets escorted Putin's flight to Middle East

The region is “full of dangers” and measures have been taken to ensure the president's safety, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said

Russian Su-35S fighter jets accompanied the plane of President Vladimir Putin during his entire trip to the Middle East. These steps were taken to protect the Russian leader in the “turbulent” region, and special overflight permits were obtained for the aerial escort of the presidential aircraft from the states they flew over, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Putin visited Abu Dhabi and Riyadh on Wednesday, where he held talks with UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, respectively. His plane was flanked by four Russian Air Force Su-35S fighter jets, which carried standard weapons of various classes.

Commenting on the move, Peskov said that while the UAE and Saudi Arabia are “stable, safe countries,” the surrounding neighborhood “is certainly full of dangers and unpredictability, so, of course, all measures are being taken to ensure the security of the Russian head of state at the proper level.”

A video of Su-35S fighter jets escorting Putin's plane during his visit to the Middle East has been released by the Russian Defense Ministry.

On Tuesday, Putin's aide Yury Ushakov recalled that the president had recently said Russia would pursue an active foreign policy and that this activity would increase. In this context, Ushakov pointed to Putin's visits to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday and his meeting with Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi in Moscow the following day.

He said that the president's working meetings included “three major international events in one day and a half” adding that this “powerful spurt" sends “signals to the international community.”

During a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, Putin said that no circumstances will prevent the development of friendly relations between the two countries. The leaders discussed the Hamas-Israel conflict, cooperation in OPEC+ and other investment cooperation between Russia and Saudi Arabia, Peskov said.

In Abu Dhabi, UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Putin also discussed the state of affairs in the Middle East, and the prospects for further development of multi-faceted cooperation between Russia and the Emirates.