At the International Defense Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023, Russian salespeople displayed a helicopter made by Russian Helicopters. In a tent outside the biennial arms fair, Russia put up various weapons for sale, including Kalashnikov assault rifles and missile systems, despite facing sanctions from the West due to its conflict with Ukraine.

The arms sale at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, demonstrates how the Gulf Arab federation has strived to balance its relations with Moscow and the West.

The link between Moscow and the Emirates is kept alive via daily flights used by those attempting to escape conscription and members of Russia’s upper class. The US Treasury has voiced worries about the high Russian currency streaming into the Arabian Peninsula.

In 2017, Omar al-Bashir, a former Sudanese strongman, visited the arms fair hosted by the Emiratis. Additionally, Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen regional leader involved in the Ukraine war, was present at the fair in both 2019 and 2021.