Moscow, Oct 23: Russian President Vladimir Putin last week said in Sochi that his country doesn't have enough information on the disappearance of dissident Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi and would not spoil its relationship with the Middle Eastern power, Reuters reported.
According to Russia Insider, Putin's stand was not surprising since Moscow works with the OPEC which created a new Moscow-Riyadh axis to manage global oil production and help revive the Russian economy, even at the expense of angering the US. It can be noted that Putin had invited Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to Moscow to the opening game of the World Cup in June which was played between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
"Of course, Russia would be overjoyed to step in to any void left by the US if lawmakers force a rupture in the US-Saudi relationship, as evidenced by the recent agreement to sell Russian S-400 missiles to the Saudis. Two weeks ago, Putin criticised the US and its sanctions against Russia, Iran and others, saying the US was "making a colossal mistake" and risked undermining the dollar in its role as the global reserve currency," the Russian Insider report said.
The US has been critical of Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of Khashoggi - an incident over which Riyadh has been giving contradictory statements. Recently, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said killing of the veteran journalist was a "grave mistake". Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, where several agents allegedly killed him brutally.
"OPEC already has its hands full dealing with the US. As Reuters reported on Wednesday, OPEC has urged its members not to mention the price of oil to avoid provoking US lawmakers from renewing support for the NOPEC bill, which could open OPEC members up to legal action," Russia Insider said.
No wonder Russia is all the more keen to remain close to its OPEC allies.